Mixed-up Meanings

  1. “Torturous” vs. “Tortuous”: What Is The Difference?

    Separated by just one pesky letter, these two similar-sounding adjectives can be torturous to keep straight. Or is it tortuous? Let’s take a look at the definitions and applications of each. What does tortuous mean? Both torturous?and tortuous?come from the Latin verb torquēre meaning “to twist.” This derivation is easy to detect in the meaning of tortuous, defined as “full of twists, turns, or bends.” …

  2. “Recuse” vs. “Resign”: What’s The Difference?

    As with many legal and political terms, recuse and resign are often confused with each other.?The differences between these terms are important to understand. What does recuse mean? To recuse?means “to withdraw from?performing legal duties?because of potential bias or a conflict of interest.” This can apply to judges, jurors, lawyers, and so on, but it’s specific to the prejudice those individuals may exhibit. Although the …

  3. “Corporal,” “General,” “Sergeant,” “Private”: What’s The Order Of The Military Ranks?

    Growing up, most kids have that one friend with the incredibly strict parent. You know the one—the mom or dad who instills fear in everyone so that no one ever misbehaves around them, ever. There might also be a lot of yes ma’ams?and no sirs involved. Well, it’s easy to joke that these parents are as strict as military officers. But in reality, not everyone …

  4. “Dopamine” vs. “Serotonin”: The Difference Between These Happy Hormones

    Bright and breezy? You’ve got serotonin to thank. Gloomy and grumpy? A big ol’ hug and a burst of oxytocin will perk you up. As it turns out, there’s a chemical side to happiness. Lifestyle factors and genetics certainly play a role in this—the latter accounting for 50 percent of your high spirits, research says. Still, how happy you are is dictated by a quartet …

  5. “Squash” vs. “Gourd”: Can You Taste The Difference?

    There are many things that signify autumn’s arrival. Pumpkin spice everything, for example, or the slight nip of cold air. Yet few things scream fall as much as a bountiful harvest—particularly when it comes to the squash and gourd harvest. Fall is the season for squash soup and pumpkin pie on the table, right alongside decorative gourds of all shapes and sizes. At first glance, …

  6. What Is The Difference Between “Equality” And “Equity”?

    Children are often concerned with issues of fairness: who has more, who was first, and who is best. That’s not fair, they clamor at the first hint of any sort of inequality. Of course, some concepts related to equality can be difficult for children to grasp—but many of these concepts continue to pose thorny problems for us as adults making and enforcing policies and laws. …

  7. text on green background: terror vs. horror

    “Terror” vs. “Horror”: Which One Is Worse?

    Forget Thanksgiving, New Year’s, and Fourth of July—for some people, no other holiday comes close to Halloween. For those who are all about “spooky season,” they’re breaking out the pumpkin spice and brainstorming creepy costumes at the first hint of fall. But are those who savor the haunting side of this holiday all about the terror that ghosts and skeletons bring? Or is it horror …

  8. “Hallowmas” vs. “All Saints’ Day”: What’s The Day After Halloween Actually Called?

    Halloween is actually just the beginning of a string of otherworldly holidays. The tricks, treats, and customs?of Halloween, now mostly secular, are based in part on ancient Celtic and Christian festivals. But did you know that the Halloween customs extend past October 31? In fact, the day after Halloween is a celebrated day in many parts of the world. What is All Saints’ Day? November …

  9. text: confident vs. confidant(e)

    “Confident” vs. “Confidant”: What’s The Difference?

    Before getting on stage to audition for the school play, Monica needed to believe in herself and reflect on her talent. But as she peeked out into the auditorium, where the judges were sitting, her self-esteem started to waver. At that point, was Monica feeling less confident than she was while singing in the shower? Or was she struggling to remain confidant? Or, what about?confidante? …

  10. “Democracy” vs. “Republic”: Is There A Difference?

    You probably hear countries like the United States or France referred to as democracies. At the same time, you probably also hear both of these countries called republics. Is that possible? Are democracies and republics the same thing or different? We don’t blame you for confusing these two terms. With a major and heated US election underway, it’s the perfect time for some Government 101. …

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