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Meat, meet or mete

Meat, meet and mete are three words that are pronounced in the same way but are spelled differently and have different meanings, which makes them homophones. We will examine the different definitions of meat, meet and mete, where these words came from and some examples of their use in sentences. Meat is the flesh of an animal, usually referring to the flesh of an animal that is eaten by human beings. Meat is sometimes used to mean the edible part of a nut. Meat is also used figuratively to … [Read more...]

More than one way to skin a cat

There's more than one way to skin a cat is a proverb, which is a short, common saying or phrase that particularly gives advice or shares a universal truth. We will examine the meaning of the peculiar phrase there's more than one way to skin a cat, where it came from and some examples of its use in sentences. There's more than one way to skin a cat means there are many ways to do something, there are many ways to achieve a goal. The oldest known use of the phrase dates back to 1854, in the … [Read more...]

Boggle the mind and mind-boggling

Boggle the mind and mind-boggling are terms that have their roots in the sixteenth century, though their current use only became popular in the 1950s. We will examine the meanings of the terms boggle the mind and mind-boggling, where they came from and some examples of their use in sentences. To boggle the mind means to baffle someone, to astonish or overwhelm someone. The term begins with the word boggle, which dates back to the sixteenth century. At that time, boggle was mostly used to … [Read more...]

Mortar board

The term mortar board is not as old as the use of the mortar board itself. We will examine the definition of the term mortar board, where it came from and some examples of its use in sentences. Most often, the term mortar board describes a certain type of academic cap worn by graduating high schoolers and bachelor and master degree candidates. The term is taken from the original mortar board, a type of board used by bricklayers to hold mortar. The comparison of the shape of the academic cap … [Read more...]

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...]

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