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...]

Christmas Adam

Christmas Adam is a colloquialism for the day before Christmas Eve or December 23rd. It is a rather new term. An online slang dictionary created a listing for it only nine years ago. Christmas Adam is not listed in any formal dictionaries and we had a hard time finding formal writing examples of its use. The general consensus of the origin of the name is that in anticipation for Christmas to come, people were looking for a name for the day before Christmas Eve. Some were calling the 23rd … [Read more...]

Even keel

Even keel is technically an idiom which means everything is stable or under control. A related idiom is smooth sailing. Both idioms have their origin in boating or sailing. For a ship to be on an even keel is for it to be level in the water and sailing smoothly. Even keel may be used on its own or in the phrase on an even keel. The second phrase is found in some dictionaries, while the first is not. It is always spelled as two words with no hyphen. Alternatively, even-keeled is listed in some … [Read more...]

Hijinks or high jinks

  High jinks is a plural noun referring to loud chaotic play, specifically characterized by its high energy and wildness. It can also be spelled hijinks. Some say that high jinks is used within the United States, while hijinks is found outside. However, we found that there is a good mix of either spelled used in all locations. And while the dictionaries list hijinks as the variant spelling, it is growing in popularity as the preferred spelling. The term seems to come from the … [Read more...]

Slayed or slew


To slay something can mean to kill it or to amuse it. The past tense of the first meaning is slew, while the past tense of the second meaning is slayed. The popularity of the word slayed has grown considerable in the last century, and my guess would be that the colloquially usage of the word will make it into the dictionaries eventually.   Also, keep in mind that slew has other meanings such as, a sudden change in direction. A slew of things is a large amount. Examples "She … [Read more...]


The dictionary lists America is the landmass consisting of North and South America. However, we were not able to find one example if it being used in this way, and so it is our belief that this definition will become obsolete sooner rather than later. America is commonly used as a name for the United States of America. The continent  of America is more commonly called the Americas, and parts of the continent are determined by adjectives such as North America, South America, Central … [Read more...]


A troika is a group of three things, usually three individuals who work together in a leadership capacity. Originally it was a term for Russian sleighs or carriages pulled by a team of three horses. Additionally, Troika is the name of a committee which organized loans to several European countries during the recent economic crisis. And lastly, a troika is a Russian folk dance where one man has two women for his partners. The actions of the dance are imitations of the horses prancing while … [Read more...]

Right-side up

The noun phrase right-side up describes a direction in which the correct side of an object is facing up. Right-side is a hyphenated compound noun, while up completes the noun phrase. In this phrase the word right has the definition of being correct, not the opposite of left. The same is true for the phrase right-side out, and the nouns right-hand and left-hand. Though when you are speaking about the right side of an object, meaning the opposite of the left side, there is no hyphen. The … [Read more...]

Wonder vs. wonderment

To wonder is a verb meaning to feel curiosity, doubt, or admiration. Wonder can also be a noun describing a feeling of admiration, usually caused by something new or beautiful. Lastly, wonderment is a noun meaning a state of awe or respect. Wonderment is a fairly new entry to the dictionary. In most situations, wonder is preferred. Examples Roadtrip on an Australian highway to a land of wonder. [Daily Telegraph] They look around in wonder as I point to various details – plaited camel-hair … [Read more...]


Akimbo describes a body position where hands are on hips and the elbows are out wide. It is an adjective that always follows the noun it modifies, such as arms akimbo. Recently there has been a rise in using akimbo in reference to almost anything that is splayed out or haphazardly arranged. The phrase legs akimbo means the legs are haphazardly splayed. Examples Mr Simusamba said the UPND would not stand with its arms akimbo and continue watching the ruling party violate the electoral … [Read more...]

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