Phrase: ‘Piqued your interest’

Phrase: ‘Piqued your interest’, meaning to capture your interest. The phrase is sometimes confused with ‘peaked my interest’, where the inference is that your interest has risen to a high point, or ‘peeked my interest’ by which I can only imagine people are alluding to some sort of hide and seek like game they feel…

Phrase: To whet your appetite

Phrase: To ‘Whet your appetite’ meaning to stimulate your appetite, usually used not only to refer to eating but an appetite for anything. This phrase is sometimes confused with ‘wet my appetite’, which makes sense, as it could relate to the notion of salivating. It’s easy to imagine how the phrases could get confused as…

Antithesis: To put against

Antithesis: something which is the opposite of the subject. It was first used in the 1530s where it described, particularly, the opposition of something in rhetoric. It comes from the Greek ‘antitithenai’ which was made up of two parts; ‘anti’ meaning ‘against’ and ‘tithenai’ which meant ‘to put’ or ‘to place’, so effectively ‘antithesis’ means…

Cool: hip, but as old as language itself

Cool: Cool is… well it’s cool. The usage of it to mean ‘fashionable’ or ‘good’ started in the early 1900s, but it’s etymology can be traced to way before that, in fact it has its root in the Proto-Indo-European culture. The etymology of ‘cool’ in this sense, entwines with the etymology of the word ‘cool’…

Maniac and Maniacal; frenzied heteronyms

Maniac and maniacal are ‘grammatical form heteronyms’ – meaning the main part of the word changes its pronunciation in different grammatical forms but keep the same meaning. Maniac means: a person exhibiting extremely violent behaviour. And has its roots in the early 16th-century word ‘mania’ which comes from the Greek ‘maniakos’ meaning ‘madness’ or ‘frenzy’.…