Makeweights are people or things that aren't important and don't matter much, but they just fill a gap.
Part of speech:
(Countable nouns, like “bottle,” “piece,” and “decision,” are words for things that can be broken into exact units. You talk about “a bottle,” “three pieces,” and “many decisions.”
Likewise, talk about one makeweight or multiple makeweights.)
Some people use a hyphen: "make-weight."
You can also use "makeweight" as an adjective.
How to use it:
Talk about someone or something being a makeweight in a certain situation, often a situation involving negotiating a deal, creating something, or reasoning or thinking through something. "This star player was once among the mere makeweights of the league." "The last track is a makeweight for the album and is utterly underwhelming."
Something (or someone) can be used, eaten, added, included, or thrown in as a makeweight or for makeweight. "The coupon for ten percent off a future order was thrown in as a makeweight in negotiations; I probably won't even use it." "Well, let me add this roll to my plate for makeweight, but I won't really enjoy it."
To use this word as an adjective, talk about a makeweight person or a makeweight thing, like a makeweight candle. But this usage seems pretty rare. We'll stick to the noun for this issue.
In the song "First World Problems," Weird Al's hilarious Amazon.com makeweight is a dog. So he can get free shipping.
Working in groups of four is a recipe for disaster. One student does most of the work, two do a few things to help, and the last is a makeweight who shows up late to the meetings, leaves early, and contributes nothing.
Look away from the screen to explain the definition in your own words. You’ll know you understand what "makeweight" means when you can explain it without saying "useless filler" or "least important part."
Think of a collection you own or a book or movie that you like, and fill in the blanks: "_____ is the most important part of _____, but _____ isn't much more than a makeweight."
Example: "The epic battle scenes are the most important part of the seventh and final novel, but the bits in the middle where the characters essentially wander around in the woods doing nothing aren't much more than a makeweight."
Spend at least 20 seconds occupying your mind with the game and quote below. Then try the review questions. Don’t go straight to the review now—let your working memory empty out first.
Playing With Words:
Our October game references some material that may be protected by copyright. I appreciate your understanding as I err on the side of caution by not publishing it here!
A Point Well Made:
William Styron: "A great book should leave you with many experiences, and slightly exhausted at the end."
1. The opposite of MAKEWEIGHT is
2. I'd rather not think about how much of this _____ is some kind of makeweight or another.
B. hamburger meat
C. bag of romaine lettuce
Answers are below.
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Disclaimer: Word meanings presented here are expressed in plain language and are limited to common, useful applications only. Readers interested in authoritative and multiple definitions of words are encouraged to check a dictionary. Likewise, word meanings, usage, and pronunciations are limited to American English; these elements may vary across world Englishes.
Today's word is highly functional and very easy to understand--and yet it's rarely used! We could say the same for decalogue, imitable, and mainspring. These fill a gap in our vocabulary and pose almost no risk of confusing listeners.
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