Due to vs because of

Due to and because of are direct synonyms. Both terms function as prepositions and mean that something was caused by something else. Other synonyms that serve the same function and meaning are owing to, caused by, as a result of, by reason of, and on account of. Because of is an older term than due to. According to Google's ngram viewer the two terms are pretty even in their popularity and frequency of usage. After those two, which are the most used by far, the third most popular is a … [Read more...]

Downright vs outright

Downright is an adjective that describes something bad as completely bad or wholly bad. Sometimes it is used as an adverb to modify other adjectives, positive or negative, and then it simply means completely or wholly. Sometimes is it also an adjective to describe something as extremely harsh or blunt, without finesse. Another adverb form is downrightly and the noun form is downrightness. Outright is an adverb that means completely, but it is usually paired with an action rather than a … [Read more...]

Downplay or play down

To downplay something is to make the object or issue seem to be less than what it really is, either in importance or value. It is a transitive verb that always occurs with an object. Play down is also a transitive verb and is a direct synonym with downplay. Play down was coined first. Other synonyms for these include minimize and de-emphasize. Playdown, spelled as one word, is a British English term, mainly in Canada and Scottland, for a sporting event that is part of a larger … [Read more...]

Double whammy vs whammy

A whammy is slang for something that is a setback, a mental or emotion hit. It can also mean, usually in the United States, something like a curse or a hex that brings bad luck on a person. This is usually found in the phrase put the whammy on someone. The plural form is whammies. A double whammy is either a setback that is horrible in two separate ways, or it can mean two setbacks that happen back-to-back. The plural form is double whammies. In this double form, the term loses the hex … [Read more...]

Dotage vs senility

Dotage is a noun for the time in one's life when one is aged and not as strong as before. This weakness is physical and sometimes mental as one loses memories and the ability to recall information. This noun is usually used with a possessive pronoun, such as her dotage, my dotage, or their dotage. The plural is dotages. Senility is the state of being when one is senile, an adjective for the specific loss of one's mind as one ages. Senility is a mass noun and therefore does not have a plural, … [Read more...]

Don’t’s or don’ts

Don't is a contraction of the words do not which means not to perform or complete an action. A don't is something that should not be accomplished or completed. The common phrase with the plural is spelled dos and don'ts. While dos has an alternate spelling (both dos and do's is accepted by different people), don'ts is always don'ts and never don't's. Interestingly, in the past it was the accepted contraction for does not as well, as in She don't live here. Nowadays this is seen as incorrect … [Read more...]

Dos or do’s

Do is a verb meaning to complete or perform an action. A to-do list is something that outlines all of the things one needs to accomplish in a certain amount of time. Another phrase is the dos of something or the things that are good or correct to perform within a certain area. Do's is a sometimes accepted spelling variation. The preferrence between the two spellings depends largely on the type of publication one is writing for. Dos or do's are accepted plural spellings of the word do when … [Read more...]

Mob or demob

A mob is a big gathering of people, this group may or may not be violent or angry. The mob is an illegal organization of people that commit crimes. To mob is to have a gathering of people push toward something, surrounding it. This group may just be excited but also may have the intent to attack something. Demob is a verb, mainly used in British English as an abbreviation for demobilize. Demobilize is a verb that means to discharge or release from service in the military, or to stop a … [Read more...]

Fraud or defraud

Fraud is a noun for the practice of lying to someone in order to gain something, either money or some other beneficial intangible. It is also the word for a person who commits fraud. Another term for this kind of person is a fraudster. This term is mainly used in British English, but can be found in some US publications as well. Defraud is a verb that describes a practice of lying to someone or an institution to steal money specifically. This includes acts like identity theft and electronic … [Read more...]

Damp squib

Squib is a British English word for firecrackers, things that explode when lit. Literally, a damp squib would be a wet firecracker, which of course would not light or be able to explode. As a noun damp squib is listed in European dictionaries but not in some American. The term means an event that falls short of expectations or less impressive than anticipated. A good synonym is anticlimactic. It should be noted that a squib has other meanings as well. A squib can be a short satirical … [Read more...]

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