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Push someone’s buttons

Push someone's buttons is an American idiom that first appeared in the 1920s. 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 push someone's buttons, where the term came from and some examples of its use in sentences. To push someone's buttons means to do something that results in an immediate reaction from someone, to do or say something that arouses an instantaneous and usually … [Read more...]

Don’t change horses in midstream

The phrase don't change horses in midstream is a proverb. A proverb is a short, common saying or phrase that particularly gives advice or shares a universal truth. We will examine the meaning of the phrase don't change horses in midstream, where the term came from and some examples of its use in sentences. Don't change horses in midstream means don't alter your course of action, plan, or leader in the middle of a project, don't change your mind at an inopportune moment. A related phrase is … [Read more...]

Due diligence

Due diligence is a phrase that is most often used in a legal context, but may also be used in informal conversation. We will examine the meaning of the term due diligence, where it came from and some examples of its use in sentences. Due diligence is a legal phrase that describes the act of making an appropriate level of investigation when considering a decision, being appropriately cautious. Due diligence often refers to the process of vetting a business that is for sale, looking at its … [Read more...]

Dichotomy vs discrepancy

Dichotomy and discrepancy are two words that are often confused. We will examine the difference between the definitions of dichotomy and discrepancy, where these words came from and some examples of their use in sentences. A dichotomy is a contrast or division between two things that are opposed to each other or are sharply different, a division of a class of something into subclasses that are mutually exclusive. Related words are dichotomous, dichotomic, dichotomously. The plural form is … [Read more...]

A day late and a dollar short

A day late and a dollar short is an American idiom that has been in use for many decades. An idiom is a word, group of words or a phrase that has a figurative meaning that is not easily deduced from its literal meaning. We will examine the meaning of the term a day late and a dollar short, where it most probably came from and some examples of its use in sentences. A day late and a dollar short is another way to say too little too late. When a person is a day late and a dollar short, he has … [Read more...]

Déjà vu

Déjà vu is an interesting term that has been used in the English language since the turn of the twentieth century. We will examine the meaning of the phrase déjà vu, where it came from and some examples of its use in sentences. Déjà vu is a phrase that means the feeling of having experienced a situation before, the feeling of having already experienced something that is currently happening, the feeling of already having lived through what one is currently living through. The phrase déjà vu is … [Read more...]

Double dog dare

Double dog dare is a term that has been in use since the mid- to late 1800s, though it experienced a renaissance in the 1980s. We will examine the meaning of the term double dog dare, where it came from and some examples of its use in sentences. A double dog dare is a challenge of epic proportions. The term double dog dare is listed in the book The Child and Childhood in Folk-Thought by Alexander F Chamberlain, written in 1896. Words and phrases that are found in schoolyards are often in use … [Read more...]

Delegate vs relegate

Delegate and relegate are two words that are similar in spelling and pronunciation but have very different meanings. We will look at the difference between the definitions of delegate and relegate, where these words came from and some examples of their use in sentences. Delegate means to authorize a representative to act on your behalf, to entrust a job or responsibility to someone else. A delegate may mean someone who has been authorized as a representative to act on your behalf, often a … [Read more...]

Dredge vs drudge

Dredge and drudge are two words that are very close in spelling and pronunciation and are often confused. We will look at the difference between the definitions of dredge and drudge, where these words came from and some examples of their use in sentences. Drudge means to do menial, hard work or a person who does menial, hard work. Drudge may be used as a noun or an intransitive verb, which is a verb that does not take an object. Related words are drudges, drudged, drudging, drudgery. The word … [Read more...]

Down to the wire

Down to the wire is an idiom that was first seen in print in the 1880s. 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 meaning of the term down to the wire, where it came from and some examples of its use in sentences. Down to the wire describes a situation in which the outcome is not known or decided until the very last moment. The term down to the wire once had a fairly literal meaning. In … [Read more...]

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