“In general, the straight line of a joke sets up a premise, an expectation. Then the funny ending – the punch line – in a sense contradicts the original assumption by refusing […]
Is it Kitty-Corner or Catty-Corner?
Suppose a friend asks you for directions to the nearest coffee shop. Your friend knows how to get to the grocery store on the corner of Main Street and Oak Avenue. You […]
Join the Effort to Save These Words and Phrases From Extinction
They are on the precipice of extinction. Without decisive action, all fifty of them will be gone, only to appear as footnotes in the textbooks of the future. Saving them is going […]
Word of the Day Challenge: Crepuscular
Crepuscular. The word fairly trips off the tongue, making even the most uneducated person sound sophisticated — assuming it is used correctly, that is.
Words That No Longer Mean What They Used To
Everyone reading this is a girl. You lived much of your life in the Matrix. You’re really not all that fantastic; in fact, you’re really quite awful. Even before you were born, […]
Congress Got Rid of Lunatics But Kept All the Idiots
If you ever decide you’d like to learn all of the laws of the United States, you will need to grab a copy of the United States Code (or you can read […]
Samuel Johnson’s Dictionary of Disdain
A common word of warning for those who might be inclined to argue with someone who writes or edits a newspaper is, “Never pick a fight with a man who buys ink […]
All Meters Go Through Paris
The history of how the unit of length known as the foot ended up being 12 inches is long and varied. When it came time to develop a metric unit of length, […]
What Do You Call an Individual Spaghetti Noodle?
Have you ever fished a single spaghetti noodle out of your plate of pasta and wondered about its proper name? Ponder no more. That single strand of pasta is classified as a […]
Do You Confess to Being a Macroverbumsciolist?
If you were accused of being a macroverbumsciolist, how would you plead? If you answered without knowing what the word means, you probably should have pleaded guilty. A macroverbumsciolist is a person […]