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perigee

The perigee is the point in the orbit of an object circling the Earth when that object is closest to the Earth. The best time to observe the moon is when the moon reaches its perigee.

The Greek ancestor of the word perigee was originally used by Ptolemy, a Roman scientist and astrologer who lived almost 2,000 years ago. The opposite of perigee is apogee. A perigee is measured from the center of the earth to the center of the orbiting object. When the moon is at its perigee, it can appear up to 14 percent larger than when it is at its apogee, but you probably can't tell the difference with the naked eye.

Choose your words

Caught between words? Learn how to make the right choice.

principal/ principle

If offered a choice, would you rather have principles or principals?
read more...

indict/ indite

If you're using indite to talk about people being formally accused of lawbreaking, you're using the wrong word: it's indict.
read more...

endemic/ epidemic

Endemic and epidemic are both words that diseases love, but something endemic is found in a certain placeand is ongoing, and epidemic describes a disease that’s widespread.
read more...

appraise/ apprise

To appraise is to estimate the value of something, but remove the second “a,” and you have apprise, which means “to tell.” If you hire someone to appraise your house, you might have to apprise your family of the fact that you now owe the bank more than your house is worth. read more...

aural/ oral/ verbal

Aural refers to the ear or hearing, and oral to the mouth or speaking. Something verbal is expressed in words, either spoken or written. Listen to the aural sensations of songs from outer space when you’ve been gassed for your oral surgery. Then stay non-verbal because you can’t use words for a long time after the dentist wakes you up. read more...

capital/ capitol

Aha! A capital is a stash of money or the government headquarters of a state. Oh, a capitol is a building. read more...

See all Choose Your Words articles »
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