Word Facts

  1. “Paradox” vs. “Oxymoron”: How To Tell The (Seemingly Similar) Difference

    When parents become empty nesters after their kids head off to college, they may be surprised by the deafening silence of their home. The emptiness can be bittersweet as mom and dad find themselves alone together. In the above sentences, these parents are dealing with quite a few contradictions. Are these examples of oxymorons or paradoxes? Or, is an oxymoron a synonym for a paradox? Let’s take …

  2. “Libel” vs. “Slander”: How To Tell The Difference

    If you spread a nasty rumor about your boss, are you engaging in slander? Can a politician sue a newspaper for libel if an article calls her a liar? What do these two words mean, and are they interchangeable? Since both are types of defamation or “the act of making negative statements that hurt another person’s reputation,” and also illegal, you’ll want to make sure …

  3. These Uncommon Singular Words Sound So Wrong

    Sometimes we can’t remember the plural form of a word—is it hippopotamuses or hippopotami? (Hint: it can be either). But there are also those times when we’re so used to hearing the plural form of a word that we just can’t think of the singular.  Even if we can remember the correct word, it tends to sound so odd and unfamiliar that we second guess …

  4. “Contagious” vs. “Infectious”: The Difference Can Be Important

    by John Kelly, Senior Research Editor at weedic.com Whether it’s flu season, chickenpox at your kid’s school, concerns about measles in your town, or the coronavirus pandemic, the words contagious and infectious often come around in news and social media, in casual conversations and government communications. While these two terms get used interchangeably, knowing the difference between them can, in some cases, be life-saving. To …

  5. What’s The Difference Between Acronyms vs. Abbreviations?

    Is there a difference between acronyms and abbreviations? Most people think they’re pretty similar … and they’re definitely used in similar ways. But, there are slight differences What is an abbreviation? An abbreviation is any shortened or contracted form of a word or phrase. Did you catch the word any in there? That means abbreviation is the blanket term for all these shortened words we’ve all been using …

  6. What Is The Difference Between Abbreviations And Acronyms?

    There really could be a whole separate dictionary for the abundance of acronyms and abbreviations people use today. But what is the actual difference between abbreviations and acronyms?
  7. “Gnarly,” “Nasty,” And “Sick”: Are These Synonyms?

    If you hang out around surfers long enough, chances are you’ll overhear them talking about a gnarly wave or a sick run. But what if they’re chatting about their housekeeping woes, and a gnarly living room or nasty kitchen? (Not cool, dude!) Does that make the words gnarly, sick, and nasty synonyms? This gets tricky because in addition to having various definitions, each word can be used …

  8. How The Month Of July Got Its Name

    The month of July, unlike June, is named for a mortal, albeit one who devised and ruled an empire. Julius Caesar was a Roman general, statesman, and historian who conquered Gaul (what is now part of Italy, France, Belgium, and the Netherlands), changed the structure of the Roman government into a dictatorship, was assassinated in legendary fashion, and most importantly for our purposes, helped make the calendar what it is today. …

  9. Do You Know Which Of These Words Came First?

  10. “Bare” vs. “Bear”: What Is The Difference?

    Most people know the word bear as a fuzzy noun: a massive mammal that makes for a beloved and cuddly toy. But what about the pain that some people know (all too well) when bearing down if they have a hemorrhoid? Or is it baring down that causes the unbearable burning? What if I take my shoes off when I enter someone’s home—am I walking …