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Ways of Answering the Phone

Do you answer the phone with a word or phrase that’s a little out of the ordinary? Readers of our email newsletter had some surprising answers to that question. One says that just for fun, he likes to answer with a cheery Front desk! A reader...

Pronouncing “Bona Fides”

Marianne from Valdosta, Georgia, is stumped about how to pronounce the term bona fides. It means “authentic credentials,” as in literary bona fides, and comes from Latin bona fides, literally “good faith.” In the United...

A Millionaire’s Family

In another episode, we discussed pigeon pair, or “a daughter and son,” an allusion to the old belief that pigeons and doves always have two chicks, one of each sex. A millionaire’s family or a million-dollar family is “a...

Crisp to Mean Cranky

Nathan from San Antonio, Texas, reports that his parents used to use the word crisp to mean “tired” or “cranky.” This usage seems to have originated on U.S, college campuses in the 1970s. This is part of a complete episode.