interesting words

Op-ed

Op-ed is an American term that is an abbreviation of two words, though the words involved may surprise you. We will examine the definition of the term op-ed, where it came from and some examples of its use in sentences. Technically, the term op-ed refers to anything printed in a newspaper on the page opposite to the editorial page. In most cases, the expression op-ed is applied to an opinion written by someone who is not affiliated with the editorial …

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Ornery

Ornery is an American word that can sometimes be confusing. We will examine the meaning of the word ornery, where it came from and some examples of its use in sentences. Ornery describes someone who is difficult, someone who does mean things or is ill-tempered or obstinate. An ornery person is not evil, but he is obnoxious. Sometimes, ornery is used in an affectionate manner to mean someone who is mischievous, stubborn or a little naughty, but still loveable. This …

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Humdinger

Humdinger is a word that first appeared in the latter half of the nineteenth century. We will examine the definition of the word humdinger, where it came from and some examples of its use in sentences. A humdinger is a person or thing that is outstanding or remarkable. Humdinger seems to be a portmanteau of the words hummer and dinger, each of which means something outstanding or remarkable. The term hummer dates back to the end of the seventeenth century, …

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Picayune

Picayune is a word that is primarily used in North America, with an interesting origin. We will examine the definition of the word picayune, where it came from and some examples of its use in sentences. Picayune means petty, insignificant, not worth much. The word picayune seems to have entered the English language in the very early nineteenth century, in the Louisiana Territory. The United States bought the Louisiana Territory from France in 1803, and as may be expected, the …

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Goober

Goober is an American word with several meanings. We will examine the definition of the word goober, where it came from and some examples of its use in sentences. Primarily, a goober is a peanut. The term goober as well as the term goober pea is Southern American slang for peanut. The plural forms are goobers and goober peas. A peanut is a legume, not a nut. It was first propogated in South America, then exported to Asia, Europe and …

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Screwball

Screwball is primarily an American term, though its origins actually date to the early 1800s in Britain. We will examine the meaning of the term screwball, where it came from and some examples of its use in sentences. Screwball may be used as a noun to refer to an eccentric, unpredictable or mentally unstable person. When used as an adjective, screwball describes something that is crazy, eccentric or absurd. The word screwball also refers to a type of pitch in …

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Lukewarm

Lukewarm is a word that dates back to the fourteenth century. We will examine the definition of the word lukewarm, where it came from and some examples of its use in sentences. Lukewarm describes something that is tepid or only slightly warm, something that is neither hot nor cold. Usually, when something is described as lukewarm it is not a compliment nor is it something to be desired. By the sixteenth century the word lukewarm was also used figuratively to …

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Donnybrook

The word donnybrook is a bit of an old-fashioned word, but is still occasionally used, especially in North America, New Zealand and Australia. We will look at the definition of the term donnybrook, its interesting origin and finally, some examples of its use in sentences. A donnybrook is an occasion that is a bit of an uproar, a chaotic brawl or a heated disagreement. The word donnybrook is derived from a public fair that was held in Donnybrook, Ireland beginning …

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Bechdel test and Bechdel-Wallace test

The Bechdel test is a term that was coined in the mid-1980s. It is sometimes referred to as the Bechdel-Wallace test. We will look at the meaning of the Bechdel test or Bechdel-Wallace test, where the term came from, and some examples of its use in sentences. The Bechdel test is a test that is applied to works of fiction, including stories, novels and films in order to gauge whether women in that work of fiction are portrayed in a …

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Sunday driver

The term Sunday driver is derived from a practice that for the most part, has fallen to the wayside. We will look at the meaning of Sunday driver, the origin of the term and some examples of its use in sentences. A Sunday driver is a person who pilots a car inexpertly, driving erratically, slowly or extremely cautiously. The term Sunday driver is derived from a practice of early automobile owners. In the 1920s and 1930s, many car owners did …

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