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Dumb down

The term to dumb down was first used in the 1930s. We will examine the definition of the term dumb down, where it came from and some examples of its use in sentences.The term dumb down means to make something simpler, to put something in simpler words or to advance an idea in intellectually simple terms so that the widest audience will understand it. To dumb down is a phrasal verb, related words are dumbs down, dumbed down, dumbing down. The adjective form, used before a noun, is the … [Read more...]

Dotard

Dotard is a word that is rarely used in the English language, though there is a related word that is well known to most English speakers. We will examine the definition of the word dotard and where it came from, as well as a more common, related word that is often used and some examples of that use in sentences.The word dotard means someone who is old, weak and senile. The word dates back to the 1300s, derived from the verb dote, an even older word meaning suffering from senility, and the … [Read more...]

Devil take the hindmost

Devil take the hindmost is an idiom that first appeared sometime in the sixteenth century. An idiom is a figure of speech that is a word, group of words or phrase that has a figurative meaning that is not easily deduced from its literal definition. We will examine the meaning of the idiomatic expression devil take the hindmost, where it came from and some examples of its use in sentences.Devil take the hindmost is a phrase that describes a situation in which someone thinks only of himself … [Read more...]

Dregs vs dredge

Dregs and dredge are two words that are close in pronunciation and spelling, but have very different definitions. We will examine the meanings of the words dregs and dredge, where these two terms came from and some examples of their use in sentences.Dregs are the liquid and sediment left in a receptacle after it has been consumed. Dregs is also used figuratively to mean the lowest, least esteemed part of something, or the leftovers. The singular form, dreg, is listed as acceptable by many … [Read more...]

Down the rabbit hole

Down the rabbit hole is an idiom with its roots in a children's book. An idiom is made up of a word, group of words or phrase that has a figurative meaning that is not easily deduced from its literal meaning. We will examine the definition of down the rabbit hole, where it came from, how it is being used today and some examples of that use in sentences. Down the rabbit hole describes the act of journeying into a bizarre or disorienting environment that is difficult to remove oneself from. A … [Read more...]

Diametrically opposed

Diametrically opposed is a phrase that has been in use since at least the mid-1600s, and is still is common use today. We will examine the meaning of the term diametrically opposed, where it came from and some examples of its use in sentences.The phrase diametrically opposed means to be completely and directly in opposition to something. The reference is to the two opposing points on either end of a diameter line drawn across a circle. The word diametrically is derived from the word … [Read more...]

Down at the heels

Down at the heels is an idiom with origins reaching back nearly three hundred years.  An idiom is a word, group of words or phrase that has a figurative meaning that is not easily deduced from its literal meaning. We will examine the definition of the phrase down at the heels, where it came from and some examples of its use in sentences.Down at the heels describes someone or something who is not prosperous, someone or something who has sustained a run of bad luck that has left them … [Read more...]

Dickensian

Dickensian is a literary term that has been in use for over one hundred fifty years, though the meaning of the term is a bit in dispute. We will examine the wide definition of the term Dickensian, where it came from and some examples of its use in sentences.The term Dickensian most literally describes something that has the attributes of a story written by Charles Dickens. Charles Dickens wrote prolifically, but he is best known for his novels such as The Pickwick Papers, A Christmas Carol, … [Read more...]

Decrepit vs deprecate

Decrepit and deprecate are two words that are very similar in spelling and pronunciation and are often confused. We will examine the definitions of decrepit and deprecate, where the words came from and some examples of their use in sentences,Decrepit describes something that is worn out or broken down, something in poor shape because of neglect or advanced age. Decrepit is an adjective. The word decrepit is derived from the Latin word decrepitus which means infirm, aged or worn … [Read more...]

Dear John letter

The term Dear John letter is an American phrase, popularized during World War II. We will examine the meaning of the phrase Dear John letter, where it came from and some examples of its use in sentences.A Dear John letter is a written communication in which the author ends a personal and intimate relationship with the recipient. The term Dear John letter became popularized during World War II, when many Americans spent years away from home. It was assumed, and probably correctly, that a … [Read more...]

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