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Diametrically opposed

Diametrically opposed is a phrase that has been in use since at least the mid-1600s, and is still is common use today. We will examine the meaning of the term diametrically opposed, where it came from and some examples of its use in sentences. The phrase diametrically opposed means to be completely and directly in opposition to something. The reference is to the two opposing points on either end of a diameter line drawn across a circle. The word diametrically is derived from the word … [Read more...]

Down at the heels

Down at the heels is an idiom with origins reaching back nearly three hundred years.  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 the phrase down at the heels, where it came from and some examples of its use in sentences. Down at the heels describes someone or something who is not prosperous, someone or something who has sustained a run of bad luck that has left them … [Read more...]

Dickensian

Dickensian is a literary term that has been in use for over one hundred fifty years, though the meaning of the term is a bit in dispute. We will examine the wide definition of the term Dickensian, where it came from and some examples of its use in sentences. The term Dickensian most literally describes something that has the attributes of a story written by Charles Dickens. Charles Dickens wrote prolifically, but he is best known for his novels such as The Pickwick Papers, A Christmas Carol, … [Read more...]

Decrepit vs deprecate

Decrepit and deprecate are two words that are very similar in spelling and pronunciation and are often confused. We will examine the definitions of decrepit and deprecate, where the words came from and some examples of their use in sentences, Decrepit describes something that is worn out or broken down, something in poor shape because of neglect or advanced age. Decrepit is an adjective. The word decrepit is derived from the Latin word decrepitus which means infirm, aged or worn … [Read more...]

Dear John letter

The term Dear John letter is an American phrase, popularized during World War II. We will examine the meaning of the phrase Dear John letter, where it came from and some examples of its use in sentences. A Dear John letter is a written communication in which the author ends a personal and intimate relationship with the recipient. The term Dear John letter became popularized during World War II, when many Americans spent years away from home. It was assumed, and probably correctly, that a … [Read more...]

Down in the mouth

Down in the mouth is an idiom that has been in use since the mid-seventeenth century. 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 the phrase down in the mouth, where it came from and some examples of its use in sentences. Down in the mouth describes the state of feeling sad, depressed, discouraged or glum. The phrase down in the mouth first appeared in the mid-1600s, and … [Read more...]

Double jeopardy

Double jeopardy is an American legal term that is sometimes applied to other situations. We will examine the meaning of the term double jeopardy, where it came from and some examples of its use in sentences. Double jeopardy is a situation in which a defendent is tried for the same crime, twice. It is illegal in the United States. The term double jeopardy is based on the guarantee in the Fifth Amendment to the Constitution: "...nor shall any person be subject for the same offence to be twice … [Read more...]

Domino effect

Domino effect is an American idiom which has its roots in the Cold War. 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 domino effect, where it came from and some examples of its use in sentences. Domino effect describes a situation in which one event triggers another similar event and then another, until there is a cascade of events that occur, all because of the first, … [Read more...]

Doggerel

Doggerel is a term that has been in use since the fourteenth century, with virtually the same definition that it carries today. We will examine the meaning of the literary term doggerel, where it most probably came from and some examples of its use in sentences. Doggerel is irregular poetry, poorly written with irregular meter and rhyme, concerning trivial matters. Doggerel is sometimes written as a parody of more serious poetry. Many poems, rhymes and songs written for children are referred … [Read more...]

Difference vs deference

Difference and deference are two words that are pronounced and spelled similarly, but have different meanings. They are sometimes confused. We will examine the definitions of difference and deference, where these words came from and some exmples of their use in sentences. Difference describes the way in which two or more people or things are unalike, the condition of being dissimilar. Difference might also mean a disagreement. Difference is a noun, the verb form is differ, related words are … [Read more...]

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