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Not all it’s cracked up to be

The idiom not all it's cracked up to be is based on an archaic meaning of the word crack. 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 in conversation or are considered informal or conversational. An idiom can illustrate emotion more quickly than a phrase that has a literal meaning, even when … [Read more...]

Not worth a plugged nickel and not worth a plug nickel

Not worth a plugged nickel and not worth a plug nickel are variations of an idiom that originated in the United States after the turn of the twentieth century. We will examine the definition of the phrase not worth a plugged nickel and the variant not worth a plug nickel, where these idioms came from and some examples of their use in sentences. The phrases not worth a plugged nickel and not worth a plug nickel describe something that is worthless, something that is valueless, something that … [Read more...]

Friar vs fryer

Friar and fryer are two words that are spelled and pronounced in the same manner, but have very different meanings, which means they are homophones. We will examine the definitions of the words friar and fryer, where these terms came from and some examples of their use in sentences. A friar is a member of one of the male religious orders known as the mendicant orders. The mendicant orders are the Carmelites, the Franciscans, the Augustianians and the Dominicans. These religious orders were … [Read more...]

Above one’s pay grade

Above one's pay grade is an idiom that first appeared in the twentieth century. 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...]

Accidental vs occidental

Accidental and occidental are two words that are close in spelling and pronunciation, but have very different meanings. We will examine the definitions of the words accidental and occidental, where they came from and some examples of their use in sentences. Accidental describes something that does not happen on purpose, something that is unexpected or something that occurs by chance. Something that is accidental is hard to predict. Accidental death and dismemberment insurance covers instances … [Read more...]

The be-all and end-all

The be-all and end-all is one of the few idioms that may be traced to a specific source. 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 … [Read more...]

Burning the midnight oil

Burning the midnight oil is an idiom that dates back at least to the 1600s. 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 idiomatic … [Read more...]

Imprecation vs implication

Imprecation and implication are two words that are close in spelling and pronunciation, but have very different meanings. We will examine the definitions of imprecation and implication, where these two words came from and some examples of their use in sentences. Imprecation may mean a curse, or it may mean something exceedingly hostile or angry that is spoken to someone or about someone. Imprecation is a noun, the verb forms are imprecate, imprecates, imprecated, imprecating, and the … [Read more...]

Whitewash

Whitewash is a closed compound word that has a literal meaning and a figurative or idiomatic meaning. Compounds or compound words are words that are derived from two separate words joined together, a closed compound word does not contain a space or hyphen. We will examine the meaning of the word whitewash both literally and figuratively, where it came from and some examples of its use in sentences. Today, the word whitewash is most often used as an idiom to mean to hide, conceal or cover up … [Read more...]

Carved in stone, set in stone and written in stone

Carved in stone, set in stone and written in stone are three idioms that are interchangeable in meaning. 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 … [Read more...]

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