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Best-laid plans

The phrase the best-laid plans is a translation of a Scottish proverb that was first published in 1786. A proverb is a short, pithy, common saying or phrase that particularly gives advice or shares a universal truth. A proverb is an aphorism. Many English proverbs are wise sayings or truths that are taken as quotations from Hebrew biblical scripture, including the Book of Psalms and the Book of Proverbs in the Old Testament, and the Gospel in the New Testament. Other proverbs, or inspirational … [Read more...]

Twiddle one’s thumbs

The expression twiddle one's thumbs is an idiom that came into use in the mid-1800s. An idiom is a word, group of words or phrase that has a figurative meaning that is not easily deduced from its literal definition. Common idioms are words and phrases used in the English language in order to convey a concise idea, and are often spoken or are considered informal or conversational. An idiom can illustrate emotion more quickly than a phrase that has a literal meaning, even when the origin of the … [Read more...]

The jaws of life

The jaws of life is a term that has been in use since the early 1970s. We will examine the meaning of the expression jaws of life, where it came from and some examples of its use in sentences. The jaws of life is a term that refers to many hydraulic rescue tools used by emergency response crews in order to extricate an accident victim from the wreckage of a rollover, car crash, or other vehicular accident. In most cases, the first responder who aids victims in their escape from such an … [Read more...]

Blow someone’s cover

To blow someone's cover is an idiom that has been in use for about one hundred years. An idiom is a word, group of words or phrase that has a figurative meaning that is not easily deduced from its literal definition. Common idioms are words and phrases used in the English language in order to convey a concise idea, and are often spoken or are considered informal or conversational. An idiom can illustrate emotion more quickly than a phrase that has a literal meaning, even when the origin of the … [Read more...]

Enfant terrible

Enfant terrible is an English idiom that has come to English from the French. An idiom is a word, group of words or phrase that has a figurative meaning that is not easily deduced from its literal definition. Common idioms are words and phrases used in the English language in order to convey a concise idea, and are often spoken or are considered informal or conversational. Usage of an idiom can illustrate emotion more quickly than a phrase that has a literal meaning, even when the origin of the … [Read more...]

High-handed

High-handed is an idiom that has been in use in English since the 1630s. An idiom is a word, group of words or phrase that has a figurative meaning that is not easily deduced from its literal definition. Common idioms are words and phrases used in the English language in order to convey a concise idea, and these expressions are often spoken or are considered informal or conversational. An idiom can illustrate emotion more quickly than a phrase that has a literal meaning, even when the origin of … [Read more...]

Vittle vs vital

Vittle and vital are two words that are sometimes confused, as they are close in spelling and pronunciation. We will examine the definitions of the words vittle and vital, where these words came from and some examples of their use in sentences. A vittle is food or an item that affords sustenance. It may be anything that one may eat, whether it is vegetables, cakes, meats, oats, dairy, maple syrup, seafood, corn, pasta or quinoa. The nutritional value is not considered, only whether it is … [Read more...]

Chews vs choose

The words chews and choose are pronounced in the same way but are spelled differently and have different meanings, which makes them homophones. Homophones are words that are totally unrelated and have different etymologies, but have the same pronunciation. We will examine the definitions of the words chews and choose, where they came from and some examples of their use in sentences. Chews means to grind something between one's teeth, to break something up by gnashing one's teeth. Synonyms of … [Read more...]

First, second and third person

The terms first, second and third person are confusing to many English speakers, though they use these categories of grammar in their speech and writing, every day. We will examine exactly what is third person, second person and first person, the difference between them, when they are used and some examples of that use in sentences. First person, second person and third person refer to point of view. Point of view has implications in telling a story, as well as in grammar. The grammatical … [Read more...]

Roommate, room mate or room-mate

Many people are confused about how to spell roommate, room mate or room-mate. The question most asked: "Is roommate one word?" We will discuss how to spell roommate, room mate or room-mate, as well the definition of these words and where they came from, and some examples of their use in sentences. A roommate, room-mate or room mate is a person who lives in the same house or apartment as another person. Usually, the roommate, room-mate or room mate is not related to the other person, and is … [Read more...]

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