GrammarPhile Blog

Do You Know the Etymology of These Common Words, Phrases, and Colloquialisms?

Posted by Phil Jamieson   Jul 19, 2018 7:30:00 AM

The English language is always growing and changing, with hundreds of words being added to the dictionary each year. And understanding how our words and common phrases originated and continue to change over time is fascinating.

Studying etymology allows us to better understand our world and its history, the people in it, and the way we communicate with one another.

Take the quiz below to see if you know the origins of some common words, phrases, and colloquialisms we use. Share your results and comments with us below and share this quiz with others who might enjoy it too!

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Topics: vocabulary, vocabulary quiz

Mountaineering Terms

Posted by Conni Eversull   Jan 29, 2014 6:30:00 AM

skierI recently discovered a new show on the National Geographic channel called Ultimate Survival Alaska.  Are you a fan? If not, I highly recommend it; the scenery is great and the adventures and challenges are amazing to watch.

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Topics: vocabulary test, vocabulary

Merriam Webster and OED Are Off the Chain!

Posted by Julie DeSilva   Jan 31, 2012 5:30:00 AM

In 2011 Merriam-Webster added more than 150 new words to the dictionary, including social media and bromance. And the Oxford English Dictionary added such phrases as light-bulb moment and environmentally unfriendly.

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Topics: vocabulary, dictionary, trends in language

Vocabulary Quiz: Travel Much?

Posted by Phil Jamieson   Mar 29, 2011 5:30:00 AM

Are you traveling this month? Going on the road? Going home? When traveling, remember: don't carry items for strangers, check in for your flight two hours early, and report all bad relative, adverbial, and Santa clauses to ProofreadNOW.

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Topics: word test, vocabulary test, vocabulary

Word Test - Oil. It's on the Brain These Days.

Posted by Phil Jamieson   Sep 7, 2010 5:00:00 AM

The price of oil. The countries that have it. The companies that produce it. The people who buy it. Talk is everywhere. Try this slick vocab quiz and see how much your brain is worth per barrel.

1. hydrocarbon: (a) a residual product (as from the distillation of petroleum); (b) a chemical isolated or derived from petroleum or natural gas; (c) an organic compound (as acetylene or butane) containing only carbon and hydrogen and often occurring in petroleum, natural gas, coal, and bitumens; (d) carbon derived from seawater.

2. oil cake: (a) the solid residue after extracting the oil from seeds (as of cotton); (b) a cake whose ingredients include canola oil, peanut oil, molasses and ginger; (c) an oil (as linseed oil) that changes readily to a hard tough elastic substance when exposed in a thin film to air; (d) dipstick.

3. crack: (a) to disperse (as an oil) in an emulsion; (b) to break up (chemical compounds) into simpler compounds by means of heat; (c) an oil well with a copious natural flow; (d) a constriction in an outlet (as of an oil well) that restricts flow.

4. copra: (a) dried coconut meat yielding coconut oil; (b) a yellow fatty oil obtained from the germ of Indian corn kernels and used chiefly as salad oil, in soft soap, and in margarine; (c) a usually glass bottle used to hold a condiment (as oil or vinegar) for use at the table; (d) a fragrant essential oil (as from rose petals).

5. baba ghanoush: (a) thick slices of bread grilled, rubbed with garlic, drizzled with olive oil, often topped with tomatoes and herbs, and usually served as an appetizer; (b) bituminous material occurring in shale and yielding oil when heated; (c) an appetizer or spread made chiefly of eggplant, tahini, garlic, olive oil, and lemon; (d) (capped) the prime minister of oil-rich Oman.

6. holy oil: (a) petroleum oil produced in the Holy Land; (b) petroleum oil high in myrrh; (c) mineral spirits; (d) olive oil blessed by a bishop for use in a sacrament or sacramental.

7. sweet crude: (a) crude oil light in sulfur content; (b) crude oil light in hydrocarbon content; (c) crude oil light in sodium content; (d) crude oil heavy in sucrose content.

8. Brent crude: (a) crude oil produced in Brent County, Texas; (b) crude oil produced in a part of the North Sea; (c) petroleum oil traded for Krugerands in South Africa; (d) crude oil drilled by a guy named Brent.

9. cresset: (a) a usually glass bottle used to hold a condiment (as oil or vinegar) for use at the table; (b) consecrated oil used in Greek and Latin churches especially in baptism, chrismation, confirmation, and ordination; (c) a framework or tower over a deep drill hole (as of an oil well) for supporting boring tackle or for hoisting and lowering; (d) an iron vessel or basket used for holding an illuminant (as oil) and mounted as a torch or suspended as a lantern.

10. derrick: (a) a graduated rod for indicating depth (as of oil in a crankcase); (b) a framework or tower over a deep drill hole (as of an oil well) for supporting boring tackle or for hoisting and lowering; (c) a building and equipment for refining or processing (as oil or sugar); (d) the head domino.
See how well you did. Click here for answers.
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Topics: word test, vocabulary

How to Adapt Your Writing Style to Your Business

Posted by Conni Eversull   Jul 13, 2010 5:00:00 AM

The following is a guest post written by Kyle Simpson.

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Topics: spelling, grammar, writing style, vocabulary

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