Feature Word: Diamond in the Rough

Definition:

An unpolished or inexperienced person who shows promise.

Description:

John Fletcher (1624) – A Wife for a Month
‘She is very honest, and will be hard to cut as a rough diamond.’

Source:

John Fletcher (1624) - A Wife for a Month

Diamond in the Rough

No Comments

Definition:

An unpolished or inexperienced person who shows promise.

Description:

John Fletcher (1624) – A Wife for a Month
‘She is very honest, and will be hard to cut as a rough diamond.’

See Details

Dead as a Doornail

No Comments

Definition:

really dead.

Description:

A doornail is the strike plate against which the door knocker strikes. Because it has been hit so many times, it must be dead.

See Details

Cranky

No Comments

Definition:

Irritated.

Description:

In the old days, cars had to be started by a crank, instead of a starter. The term ‘cranky’ came about from having a bad day trying to crank starting your car.

See Details

Crackerjack

No Comments

Definition:

an expert.

Description:

The late 19th-century pairing of ‘crack’ and ‘jack’ to form ‘crackerjack’ topped off a long history for those words. ‘Cracker’ is an elongation of ‘crack,’ an adjective meaning ‘expert’ or ‘superior’ that dates from 1793. Prior to that, ‘crack’ was a noun meaning ‘something superior’ and a verb meaning ‘to boast.’ (That verb use evolved from ‘to crack a boast,’ which came from the sense of ‘crack’ meaning ‘to make a loud sharp sound.’) ‘Jack’ has been used for ‘man’ since the mid-1500s, as in ‘jack-of-all-trades.’ ‘Crackerjack’ entered English first as a noun (‘someone or something of excellence’), then as an adjective. You may also know ‘Cracker Jack’ as a snack of candied popcorn and peanuts. The copyrighted product name dates from the 1890s.

See Details

Catch-22

No Comments

Definition:

an illogical, unreasonable, or senseless situation

Description:

“Catch-22” originated as the title of a 1961 novel by Joseph Heller. The original catch-22 in the novel was as follows: a combat pilot was crazy by definition (he would have to be crazy to fly combat missions) and since army regulations stipulated that insanity was justification for grounding, a pilot could avoid flight duty by simply asking, but if he asked, he was demonstrating his sanity (anyone who wanted to get out of combat must be sane) and had to keep flying. The label catch-22 suggested that 21 equally pernicious catches preceded it, but it was catch-22 that caught our attention and entered the language as the label for any irrational, circular and impossible situation.

See Details

Newer Entries