Nib vs nub

A nib is something small that comes to a point. Originally it was the tip of a quill pen, and now is commonly used to describe the metal piece at the end of an ink-well pen or the tip of any writing instrument. It may also mean a bird's beak or bill. In cooking, a nib is a small piece of a roasted product, like coffee or cocoa beans. It is always used in a compound form, such as, cacao nib or coffee nib. A nub may also mean a tiny piece that projects or sticks out, though not generally … [Read more...]

Renege vs rescind

To renege is to go back on a promise, to make a denial, or revoke something. It is pronounced many different ways. The first syllable may have the long or short e sound. And the (nege) syllable can be /nehg/, /nahg/, or /nig/. A person who reneges is a reneger. It is also used sometimes in board or card games when a player has broken the rules. In the game of euchre, you play cards by suit. If you play a card later, but should have played it earlier in the game, you reneged on the promise … [Read more...]

Sanction

  Sanction is a noun which has two directly opposite meanings, which makes it a auto-antonym or contronym (i.e., a word that can contradict itself). One meaning of sanction is to grant official endorsement or approval for an action. The other meaning is the process taking by the international community against a specific country to force said country to comply with international law. These sanctions can include reducing or restricting trade or economic aid. Outside of international … [Read more...]

Nutriment or nutrition

Nutriment is something that increases growth or sustains life. In medical terminology it may refer to something which causes the healing of human tissue. It is a mass noun without a plural form. While nutriment and nutrition come from the same Latin root word, they are not synonyms. Nutrition is the act of consuming the correct variety of foods and drinks that results in health and growth. The adjective form is nutritional, and the adverb is nutritionally. Examples In effect, mistletoe … [Read more...]

Snobbery or snobbishness

Snobbery is the action of a person who thinks he or she is more important or worthwhile than others. The plural form is snobberies. A person who thinks or acts this way is called a snob. Something can be snobby, snobbier, or the snobbiest. Another adjective form is snobbish. The adverb form is snobbishly. And the back-formation noun from the adjective is snobbishness. So in the end, snobbery and snobbishness are synonyms for the same type of behavior. Examples Mr. Burke said the … [Read more...]

Lei

A lei is a necklace made of flowers. It is a Hawaiian word. A common practice is for Polynesians to give visitors a lei as a gift. The plural form is leis. Lei also as a secondary meaning as the plural form of leu, which is a unit of currency in Romania. Side note: It should be noted that both definitions of this word are homonyms for lay and lays. Examples Set in the heart of the tourist mecca -- amidst the luxury stores and giant hotels -- Aunty Bella's lei stand has been quietly … [Read more...]

Sine die

Sine die is an adverb borrowed from Latin which literally means without day. It is used in English to describe something as not having a future designation. Another synonym is indefinitely. Sine die is almost exclusively used in conjunction with the verb adjourn. It is a designation used in government organizations. If a meeting adjourned sine die, it means that there is no definite plan to meet again or that it is close indefinitely. If sine die is used without adjourn, it is still used in … [Read more...]

Liquor vs liqueur

Liquor is a synonym for alcohol, usually a fermented drink that has been distilled. Distillation is basically the process of taking a fermented liquid and purifying it which removes water and therefore makes the concentration of alcohol higher. In North America, hard liquor is a common synonym. As a verb, to liquor something is to either coat it with oil or grease, or it can mean to drink enough alcohol to become drunk. The latter definition is usually used with the … [Read more...]

Agreement vs agreeance

  An agreement is an understanding, a compromise to get two sides to find common ground. For things to be in agreement they are harmonious or do not contradict each other. Agreeance is the act of agreement. It is an archaism that is now rarely used correctly. Most often it is incorrectly found in the phrase in agreeance instead of in agreement. So instead of saying that things agree with each other, the user is saying that things are in the act of agreeing with each other, it is … [Read more...]

Reindeer or caribou

A reindeer is a species of deer which live in the northern part of the earth. Caribou is a synonym for reindeer and is especially used for those which live on the North American continent. Reindeer can be found on nearly every northern continent and much further south than the North Pole. In 1823 reindeer were paired with St. Nicholas and with the song about Rudolph the red-nosed reindeer, they have been a permanent fixture in the Christmas holiday celebrations in the Western … [Read more...]

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