A dime a dozen

The phrase a dime a dozen refers to something very plentiful, common, and therefore, inexpensive. A dime is a unit of U.S. currency that is one tenth of a dollar, or ten cents. The dime was first minted in 1796. In the 1800s, many goods such as eggs or apples were advertised to cost a dime a dozen in the United States. A phrase that began as a way to tout good value for the money evolved into a phrase that means something nearly worthless by virtue of its commonness and easy availability. In … [Read more...]

Upload vs download

Upload means to transfer digital computer files from a client to a server. An example of uploading is transferring a video from a smartphone to a website, or transferring a PDF from a laptop to an archive website. The term upload comes into the English language in the late 1970s as computers develop. Upload may be used as either a noun or verb, related words are uploads, uploaded, uploading. Download means to transfer digital computer files from a server to a client. An example of downloading … [Read more...]

Devil’s advocate

A devil's advocate is a person who takes the contrary view only for the purpose of debate, one who tests the strength of an argument through lively opposition. A person who plays the devil's advocate does so in order to expose weak points in a philosophy and therefore examine a matter more thoroughly. A devil's advocate is not trying to "win" an argument, he is attempting to examine a problem from all sides. The term devil's advocate comes into English in the 1700s, from the Latin advocatus … [Read more...]

In the doldrums

In the doldrums is a phrase that means dispirited, feeling listless or mildly depressed. In the doldrums has a maritime origin, the Doldrums is an area in the ocean that is situated north of the equator and between two belts of trade winds. The trade winds meet in the Doldrums and neutralize each other, leaving the area windless. A sailing ship may be stranded in the Doldrums for a long period of time, running out of supplies and patience, waiting for a wind to blow it further on its journey. … [Read more...]

Dead as a doornail

Dead as a doornail is a phrase which means not alive, unequivocally deceased. The term goes back to the 1300s, the phrase dead as a doornail is found in poems of the time. The term dead as a doornail was used in the 1500s by William Shakespeare, and in Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol in 1843. It is thought that the phrase dead as a doornail comes from the manner of securing doornails that were hammered into a door by clenching them. Clenching is the practice of bending over the protruding end … [Read more...]

Fair dinkum

Fair dinkum means fair play, genuine, fair dinkum is sometimes used as a question to confirm the truth or genuineness of something. A fair-dinkum Aussie is an Australian who demonstrates the nation's values. Dinkum first appears in England in the nineteenth century, meaning honest toil. When miners brought the word to Australia in the late 1800s, fair was added to create the term fair dinkum, extending the meaning to honesty or fair play. Fair dinkum is now primarily used in Australia and New … [Read more...]

Draughts and checkers

Draughts is a British game played by two people on a square board, the draughts are red and black. English Draughts is played on an 8x8 board with twelve pieces for each player, black moves first. Each side attempts to capture the men of the other side by jumping, the first to capture all the men from his opponent wins. International or Polish Draughts are played on a 10x10 board with twenty pieces per player, the red or lighter-colored men move first. Checkers is the American name for the … [Read more...]

Ditto and ditto mark

Ditto means the same as what has already been said, the same as what has been written above, the same as what has been written before. Ditto may be a noun, the plural is dittos. Ditto may also be an adverb. As a transitive verb, which is a verb that takes an object, ditto means to make duplicates or to do again. Related words are dittos, dittoed, dittoing. Ditto comes from the Italian detto in the early 1600s, and was originally used to avoid repeating the month and year in writing a series of … [Read more...]

Desert vs dessert

Desert may be pronounced two ways, when the first syllable is stressed, as in DEsert, it is a noun or adjective meaning a dry, desolate area, especially one covered in sand, waterless and usually hot during the day and chilly at night. Related words are desertic and desertification. Desert comes from the Late Latin desertum meaning thing abandoned. When pronounced as deSERT, the word means 1.) to abandon, to leave someone, to abandon a military post without permission, to leave a place so as it … [Read more...]

Devil’s food cake

Devil's food cake is a chocolate cake that is baked mainly in the United States and Canada. A devil's food cake differs from a chocolate cake in its ingredients. A chocolate cake normally calls for melted chocolate, a devil's food cake calls for cocoa with the main liquid ingredient being boiling water with baking soda. These ingredients create a richer, more moist devil's food cake. Presumably, devil's food cake was created to be the antithesis of the angel food cake, which is extremely light … [Read more...]

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