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Mail vs male

Mail is a letter or a parcel sent by postal service. Mail may also describe the postal service, especially in the United States, the individual delivery of a batch of mail or the individual collection of a batch of mail. Mail is also used as a verb to describe sending a letter or parcel through the postal service. Related terms are mails, mailed, mailing. A second definition of the word mail is a type of flexible armor consisting of metal rings or metal plates. In addition, mail may be used in … [Read more...]

McGuffin

A McGuffin is a mysterious object or event in a story that serves as the impetus for the story.  A McGuffin is a plot device, a catalyst to get the story going, but is an object or event that is actually of little or no importance to the story. Alfred Hitchcock used the term in a college lecture in 1939 and is credited with inventing the term McGuffin. However, the true source of the term is a screenwriter named Angus MacPhail, whom he worked with. Alfred Hitchcock spelled the term as MacGuffin, … [Read more...]

Matriculate vs graduate

Matriculate means to be be enrolled in a course of study at a college or university. Matriculate may also mean to admit a student into a course of study at a college or university. Matriculate is usually used as a verb, though it may be used as a noun in Indian English to describe a person who has matriculated. Related words are matriculates, matriculated, matriculating, matriculator, matriculant, matriculation.  Graduate means to complete a course of study at a college, university, secondary … [Read more...]

Murphy’s Law, Sod’s Law and Finagle’s Law

Murphy's Law is a humorous American axiom that states anything that can go wrong, will go wrong. The term Murphy's Law was coined in the early 1950s during G-force tests by the American Air Force. One version of the story says that an aerospace engineer named Captain Edward A. Murphy installed a key sensor backwards, skewing the test results. Another version of the story states that Captain Murphy did no such thing, that the reason he is associated with Murphy's Law is that he frequently … [Read more...]

MIA

MIA is a military acronym which stands for Missing In Action. A soldier who is MIA is unaccounted for, it is not known whether the soldier is dead, taken prisoner, has deserted or is wounded or lost in the terrain. MIA is a designated status that actually means that the status of the soldier is unknown. MIA is used as a noun and as an adjective. With the advent of ID tags in World War I it became easier to assign casualty statuses, meaning fewer soldiers were permanently designated as MIA. MIA … [Read more...]

Mickey Finn and mickey

A Mickey Finn is a drug that someone secretly puts into a drink in order to render the drinker unconscious. This is slipping someone a Mickey Finn, related phrases are slip someone a Mickey Finn, slips someone a Mickey Finn and slipped someone a Mickey Finn. Obviously, slipping someone a Mickey Finn is a severe crime. The phrase seems to have originated sometime in the 1890s, taken from the name of a bartender at the Lone Star Saloon and Palm Garden in Chicago at the turn of the last century. … [Read more...]

Minimum vs minimal

Minimum means the least amount possible, the smallest possible amount required, recorded or attainable. Minimum may be used as a noun or an adjective, the word comes from the Latin word minimum which means smallest thing. The plural form of minimum may either be minimums or minima, minimums is the most prevalent. Minimal also means the least amount possible, the smallest possible amount required, recorded or attainable. However, minimal may also mean a small or negligible amount, not … [Read more...]

Milquetoast vs milktoast

A milquetoast is a person who is skittish, unassuming, timid, weak. Milquetoast is mainly an American term, coming from an American cartoon drawn by Harold T Webster in the 1920s through the 1950s called The Timid Soul. The cartoon revolved around a character called Caspar Milquetoast. Milktoast is an eggcorn of milquetoast. An eggcorn is a misheard or misspelled version of a word. Interestingly, the name of the character Caspar Milquetoast is inspired by the American dish milk toast, an … [Read more...]

Make no bones about it

Make no bones about it means 1.) to state something plainly, to speak frankly without holding back and with no equivocation 2.) to accept something without objection. Make no bones about it is an interesting and very old idiom. It goes back to fifteenth century England and finding bones in one's soup. Bones in one's soup makes the soup difficult to eat, and finding bones in it came to mean finding something objectionable in a situation. If one found no bones, then there was nothing objectionable … [Read more...]

Millennia vs millenniums

A millennium is a time period that spans one thousand years or the one-thousand-year anniversary of something. The plural of millennium may be rendered as millennia or as millenniums. Millennium is a Modern Latin word, derived from the Latin word mille which means thousand and the Latin word annus, which means year. As a Latin word, the plural of millennium is rendered as millennia. However, since millennium is now an appropriated English word, it is also correct to render the plural form as … [Read more...]

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