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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...]

Mince vs mints

Mince and mints are two words that are pronounced in the same way but are spelled differently and have different meanings. They are homophones. We will examine the difference in meaning between mince and mints, where the words came from and some examples of their use in sentences. Mince describes food, usually meat, that is cut and sliced and into very small pieces. In British English, mince almost always refers to beef that is sliced and cut into very small pieces. Mince may be used as a … [Read more...]

Meretricious vs meritorious

Meretricious and meritorious are two words that are often confused. We will look at the difference in meaning between meretricious and meritorious, where these words come from and some examples of their use in sentences. Meretricious describes something that is superficially attractive, garish, something attractive that has no actual value. Meretricious also means insincere. The word first appears in the 1620s, derived from the Latin word meretricius which means pertaining to prostitutes. … [Read more...]

Many happy returns

Many happy returns is a shortening of a longer phrase that has been in use since the 1700s. We will examine the meaning of the term many happy returns, the original phrase it is derived from, and some examples of its use in sentences. Many happy returns means that the speaker wishes that the listener will have many happy years to live. The phrase is shortened from the sentiment many happy returns of the day, which has been a greeting used since the 1700s. One may consider this phrase to have … [Read more...]

Mum’s the word

Mum's the word is an idiom that dates back to the turn of the eighteenth century. We will look at the meaning of the idiom mum's the word, where it comes from and some examples of its use in sentences. Mum's the word is an admonition to keep something quiet, to keep something secret, to remain silent. Though the oldest known use of the idiom mum's the word occurred in 1704, the word mum was in use long before that time. The word mum to mean silent is related to the word mummer, which is a … [Read more...]

Crèche and manger

Crèche and manger are Christmas words that also have non-Christmas-related meanings. We will look at the definitions of crèche and manger, where the words come from and some examples of their use in sentences. A crèche is a representation of the Nativity of Jesus, often seen in churches and homes at Christmas time. The word crèche is borrowed from the French. The Old French form of the word is cresche, which meant stall, crib or manger. During the 1800s crèche took on the meaning of a day … [Read more...]

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