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canopy

A canopy is a roof-like covering for a bed, made of fabric. A lot of little girls dream of having a four-poster bed with a ruffled canopy.

Any fabric cover that acts as a roof can be called a canopy, and so can something resembling such a covering, like a canopy of leaves created by trees. The Greek word that's at the root of canopy is konopeion, which means "Egyptian couch with mosquito curtains." The Old French conope, which evolved into today's canopy, originally meant "bed-curtain."

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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