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...]

Deplane or disembark

  To deplane is to get off of an airplane. It is a verb that is conjugated through all the tenses. It was coined in the 1920s and is an odd usage of the prefix de-. While it is used in some words to mean removal, such as dehumidify, in deplane it is not the plane that is being removed, but the person from the aircraft. Deplane is more commonly used inside the United States. A synonym for deplane is disembark, which means to get off of an aircraft or ship. But disembark also carries … [Read more...]


A diagram is an illustration that describes or explains. It is not simply a picture, but it carries instructions or conveys information about something. It is commonly used in science and mathematics. In British English, diagram may also mean a railway schedule. There are three adjective forms: diagrammable, diagrammatic, and diagrammatical. The middle form is the most common. Also, the adverb is diagrammatically. It can also be a verb. To diagram something is to teach a concept by drawing … [Read more...]

Dreidel or dreidl

A dreidel is a spinning top that has four sides. On each side is written a Hebrew character. It is used to play the game dreidel during the Hebrew holiday of Hanukkah. Because the name is a translation from the Yiddish dreydl, the spelling is either dreidel or dreidl, which more closely matches the original. The common origin of the game is something that was played  as Jews were hiding in caves from enemy soldiers. So that if they were found, they would be playing a simple game instead of … [Read more...]

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