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Mexican standoff

The term Mexican standoff is most probably a term coined in the United States and is considered a pejorative by many, but not all people. We will examine the meaning of the term Mexican standoff, where it probably came from and its evolution, as well as some examples of its use in sentences. A Mexican standoff is a confrontation in which the opponents are equally matched and neither one may win, in a Mexican standoff neither participant has an advantage. In its first iteration in the 1840s, … [Read more...]

Make a clean breast of it and come clean

Make a clean breast of it and come clean are two idioms that mean the same thing but originated at two different times. 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 phrases make a clean breast of it and come clean, where these terms came from and some examples of their use in sentences. To make a clean breast of it means to confess to one's mistakes or transgressions, to tell … [Read more...]

Microfinance, microcredit and microloan

Microfinance, microcredit and microloan are terms that came into use in the mid-1970s when these practices were pioneered. We will examine the definitions of the terms microfinance, microcredit and microloan, where these words came from and some examples of their use in sentences. Microfinance is a system of banking services made available to clients who are not served by traditional banks because of their location and poverty. Usually, the mission of microfinancing institutions is to aid … [Read more...]

Mary Sue

Mary Sue is a term that has recently been added to the Oxford English Dictionary. We will examine the definition of the term Mary Sue, where it came from and some examples of its use in sentences. A Mary Sue is a fictional character who is so perfect as to be unrealistic. A Mary Sue is a character who has no weaknesses, who performs heroically and perfectly in every situation. This sort of character is usually considered to be a form of wish-fulfillment on the part of the author, and is a … [Read more...]

Worth one’s while

Worth one's while is an idiom that dates back to the 1300s. 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 worth one's while, where it came from and some examples of its use in sentences. Worth one's while describes something that is worth one's effort, time or expenditure. Something may be worth one's while if the return is greater or commiserate with the effort or … [Read more...]

Marsala vs masala

Marsala and masala are two culinary terms that are often confused. We will look at the difference between the definitions of Marsala and masala, where these terms came from and some examples of their use in sentences. Marsala is a strong dessert wine somewhat like sherry or port. A regional wine from the Sicilian city of Marsala, Marsala wine was introduced to a wider audience at the turn of the nineteenth century. Chicken Marsala is probably the best-known dish using this wine, as well as … [Read more...]

A miss is as good as a mile

A miss is as good as a mile is a proverb, which is a short, common saying or phrase that gives advice or shares a universal truth. Often, a proverb is so familiar that a speaker will only quote half of it, relying on the listener to supply the ending of the proverb himself. We will examine the meaning of the proverb a miss is as good as a mile, where it came from and some examples of its use in sentences. A miss is as good as a mile means that a miss is still a miss, no matter how wide or … [Read more...]

Moonshine

Moonshine is an American term with its roots in British English. We will examine the meaning of the term moonshine, where it came from and some examples of its use in sentences. The most well-known definition of the word moonshine is illegal liquor, most often brewed in the Appalachian area of the United States. Moonshine may also be used to mean nonsense or a foolish idea, as well as the light shining from the moon. The term moonshine is derived from fifteenth century Britain. At that time, … [Read more...]

More bang for one’s buck and bigger bang for one’s buck

More bang for one's buck and bigger bang for one's buck are phrases that originated in the United States. We will examine the meaning of the phrases more bang for one's buck and bigger bang for one's buck, as well as where the phrases came from and some examples of their use in sentences. More bang for one's buck means to get more for your money, to receive a greater value in exchange for what one paid. A bigger bang for one's buck also means to get more for your money, to receive a greater … [Read more...]

Meritorious vs maritorious

Meritorious and maritorious are two words that are sometimes confused, but mean very different things. We will examine the definitions of meritorious and maritorious, where these words came from and some examples of their use in sentences. Meritorious means deserving of praise, deserving a reward. In American English, meritorious may be used as a legal term to denote a case that is likely to succeed on its merits. The word meritorious is derived from the Latin word meritorius, meaning for … [Read more...]

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