Knave vs nave

  A knave is someone (usually a man) who has no morals or ethics, is dishonest or deceitful. It is also the name for a Jack in a deck of playing cards. A nave is a hub of a wheel or the part of a church that is long and narrow. Examples And while he's put together a fine cast, it sometimes leans too heavily on guest stars; it's a treat to see James Spader, as in "Lincoln," once again playing a fancy knave, but when Meryl Streep shows up as a minister's wife it feels like a joke … [Read more...]

Trooper or trouper

If someone is a trouper he or she does what needs to be done without complaining or whining. A trouper is also part of a troupe, or a group of people, usually an acting troupe or theatre troupe. If someone is a trooper he or she is a soldier at entry level or an officer in the police. In British English it is also a ship used to move troops. Both words come from the French troupe, which carries the same meaning as today. Some dictionaries list trooper as a synonym of trouper, however, … [Read more...]

Factious vs facetious

Factious is an adjective describing something or someone has having to do with factions, or separate groups within a larger body, usually separated by a belief or proclivity. It has derivatives of factiously and factiousness, though these are rarely used. It is pronounced \ˈfak-shəs\ (fact shish). Facetious, on the other hand, is a word to describe something or someone as intentionally funny, though usually failing to attain humor or inappropriate. It also has two derivatives … [Read more...]

Gait vs gate

  A gait is a way of walking, either an individual's particular way of moving from one place to another, or an animal's pace of moving, such as a trot, gallop, or canter. It can be used as a verb to train an animal to walk a certain way. Incidentally gait did come from gate, which meant way. While gate, which is an opening in a barrier, usually a fence, came from the Norse gat, which meant opening. Gate can also be a verb, meaning to put a gate in something. In Britain it can mean … [Read more...]


  Effete is an adjective describing something as feminine or effeminate. An alternative definition is for something to lack effectiveness, to not have strength or bravery or to be unable to act. Its derivatives include effetely and effeteness. In the seventeenth century, effete meant being past the childbearing years, or to not be fertile. One can see the transition of this to other topics, so that governments and armies were not fertile, or ineffective. Examples Dinesh Gundu … [Read more...]

Debark or disembark

To debark is to disembark, which is to get off of an airplane or ship or other mode of transportation. Both can also be the act of removing someone or something from the same vessels. Both have noun forms of debarkation and disembarkation, which refer to the location the person debarked at. Additionally, one can debark a tree, or remove the bark from a tree. One would then be a debarker. Examples Four Smith County Jail trusties, equipped with chainsaws and straight-draw shave tools, which … [Read more...]

Bath or bathe

Bath is a noun that can mean many things, including a cleansing of the body, a contained liquid used to wash the body, a bathroom, bathtub, or a financial setback. One can take a bath, have a bath, or soak in a bath. The plural is baths. However, never does this word mean to have a bath or to wash. All forms are pronounced with the short a sound. A blood bath is a massacre where lots of blood is split, so much that people are soaked in it. This can be literal or figurative. The verb to wash … [Read more...]

Specious vs spurious

For something to be specious it has to appear to be correct or true, but in reality is false or incorrect. There is a slight connotation of it being related to appearances, that the specious item has an allure that is untrue. Its derivatives include speciously and speciousness. Spurious, on the other hand, is something that is founded on illogical reasoning or false facts. It can be something that is similar in appearance to something else, without being the genuine item (e.g., drugs). … [Read more...]

Lesser or lessor

Lesser describes something has being smaller than something else, or having less of a certain quality. Not to be confused with fewer. Lesser is an adjective that is used before the noun it modifies. To be lesser-known is somewhat famous, but not of wide acclaim. Lessor is a person who leases their property. It is commonly used in reference to airplanes. It has two pronunciations in British English with the stress being allowed on either syllable. In the United States it has only one accepted … [Read more...]

Loop de loop or loop the loop


The dictionary lists a loop-the-loop as a thrill ride that sends its passengers in a complete 360 degree circle. It is more commonly used to describe anything doing the same movement. A plane can loop the loop in the sky when turns in a vertical circle. It follows the general rule of phrasal verbs that are hyphenated when used as a noun or adjective but separate words when used in verb form. The word loop comes from the Scottish Gaelic lùb which means to bend. Other phrases which … [Read more...]

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