Disdain or distain

Disdain can be either a noun or a verb. As a noun disdain means the general attitude of something or someone being beneath consideration or not valuable enough for respect. The verb form is transitive, or used with an object. To disdain something is to mock it or judge it poorly. One can also disdain an action, in other words, refuse to complete the action because one has deemed it beneath consideration or unworthy. The adjective form is disdainful, which describes something or someone has … [Read more...]

Dumpster vs dumpster

Dumpster is the name, for North America (including both United States and Canada), for a large metal container for trash. Outside the United States the receptacle is called either a skip or a front load container. This term was created by a business for their specialized containers that let a truck empty them without any manual labor required. The name was formed from the word dump, the place were all trash is taken. For years the word was so popular that all containers were … [Read more...]

Bunk vs debunk

Bunk can be a narrow bed or, mainly in the United States, a verb which means to room with another person. It can also be a mass noun for foolishness or nonsense. This is a shortened version of the word bunkum, which has the same meaning. Side note: bunkum may also be spelled buncombe because the term originated from a politician in Buncombe, North Carolina. Outside of the United States, there is a phrase do a bunk that means to hastily leave or escape. Debunk is a verb that means to prove … [Read more...]

Brief vs debrief

Brief can be a noun, an adjective, or a verb, and all have different meanings. The noun form is a set of legal documents or a set of specific instructions. The adjective form means to be short in duration or size. The verb form means the act of giving instructions or, especially in military settings, the act of talking about matters in a meeting known as a briefing. It is also used in legal settings outside the United States as the act of instructing a barrister (lawyer) by a … [Read more...]

Drink drank drunk

To drink something is to swallow a liquid. The past tense of drink is drank. The past participle of drink is either drank or drunk, though the latter is used twice as often as the former. A past participle is the adjective or adverb form of a verb. In this case, drunk is used exclusively with the verb have. Some will say that drank is not the past participle. However, it is listed in some dictionaries and used widely as such. If you are concerned about your audience, stick with have … [Read more...]


Druthers means the ability to make a choice or preference. Usually it is used in the construction if I had my druthers, or some variation of that. It is mainly used in the United States and Canada and is informal. This word comes from a contraction of the words I would rather or I'd rather. Now and then one will see the term used in this way, I'd druther, but since druther includes the 'd part of the contraction it should be I druther, which looks odd and most would consider it a … [Read more...]

Deteriorate vs decline

To deteriorate is to worsen over time, to get progressively badder. It can be used with or without an object. The adjective form is deteriorative. To decline can mean to get worse over time, a synonym of deteriorate. However, decline has other definitions that include becoming progressively smaller or fewer, which may be a good thing if one is talking about one's weight. Another definition of decline is to reject, as in declining an invitation. It can mean the actual movement downward of an … [Read more...]

Deleterious vs detrimental

Deleterious is an adjective used to describe something or someone as dangerous or causing injury, usually in an unobtrusive or surprising manner. The adverb form is deleteriously, and the noun form is deleteriousness. Detrimental is also an adjective used to describe something or someone as dangerous or causing injury, usually in an obvious or expected way. The adverb form is detrimentally, and the noun form is still detrimental. Examples This suggests that work-study programs give … [Read more...]

Dogged vs dogged

When pronounced as two syllables (dog ged), dogged is an adjective to describe something or someone as unstoppable or persistent. He, she, or it will do whatever it takes to get want they want and nothing will get in their way. The adverb form is doggedly, while the noun form is doggedness. When dogged is pronounced as one syllable (dogd) , it is the past tense form of the verb dog, which means to track or follow someone persistently, like a hound on someone's scent. A project can also … [Read more...]

Dissatisfied or unsatisfied

To satisfy means to create or cause happiness or pleasure. It may also speak of fulfilling requirements or meeting obligations. It may be used with or without an object. The noun form is satisfaction and an adjective form is satisfactory. The prefixes un- and dis- may be added to the noun, adjective, and all conjugations of the verb form. To be dissatisfied is to have a lack of contentment or happiness in regards to something. Unsatisfied, on the other hand, simply means to not be … [Read more...]

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