After year-end remembrances of the dear departed, a look at why we call them ‘late.’
Before the holiday, a look at the roots of our vocabulary of gratitude.
A look at the many meanings of a useful little word – and those of its evil twin.
An official form that must be filed with 12 copies prompts some musings on how hardworking the metaphor ‘folding’ is in our language.
A look at an inspired metaphor for talking about the courtroom problem of tainted testimony in court.
The longtime voice of the Los Angeles Dodgers sometimes broadcast the game by knowing when to shut up.
A look at three idioms for different kinds of ‘distance’ – literal and figurative.
If you've read 'Verbal Energy' over the past year, you'll have all the answers.
‘Elite’ has become such a pejorative over the last while; let’s take a look at its roots and its word kin.
A little hygge may be just what we need as we head into the northern winter.
When civilization seems to be under pressure in the ‘post-truth’ era, the public library helps hold things together.
We don’t know the roots of ‘gig,’ but its sound symbolism suggests a certain resilience – which we’re all going to need.
Data cruncher extraordinaire Josh Katz has turned the responses he got to his fascinating online dialect quiz into a new book.
Indian soldiers march during a full dress rehearsal for the Republic Day parade in New Delhi, India, on Monday.
An account of how one of the Chelsea bombs was foiled introduces a colorful bit of New York City slang.
A vintage Disney cartoon has some profound insights for today’s drivers.
The man in the white suit takes on Darwin and Chomsky.
There’s a special way to speak of someone who tells ‘the truth,’ and ‘nothing but the truth,’ but not quite ‘the whole truth.’
A look at how two identical words of very different origin drifted into one – and provided a perfect term for just this time of year.
In light of the incident of the American Olympians in Rio, a look at the vocabulary of overstatement, understatement.
'Water features' trace their origin – etymologically and literally – back to ancient Babylon and Rome.
A look at some of curious lingo of currency traders as the pound has fallen against the dollar in the wake of the ‘Brexit’ vote.
A look at the surprising history of a phrase that’s been much a part of this year’s presidential campaign.
The events of a long hot summer prompt research into some of the vocabulary of public gatherings.
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