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Newsletter: Mutt Rivals

Hey there, and welcome to our latest newsletter.

Latest Broadcast

Did you catch our examination of the phrase like a boss? It comes from hip-hop but was popularized by a parody.

In the same episode, we took a look at infra dig and explored old-fashioned similes.

Check out details of the whole episode or download it here.

Recommended Reading

Last week, Mike M. sent us an email asking us for light, fun reading, something that would balance out all the technical reading he’s been doing.

We put the call out to you, and at the top of the list was science-fiction and fantasy writer Piers Anthony, especially his Xanth series.

Read the full list of recommended authors, titles, and series.

Mutts and Rivals

You’ve heard a lot lately about the rivalry between Olympic swimmers Michael Phelps and Ryan Lochte. Martha reveals the story behind the watery word rivalry, and its surprising connection to the words derive and arrive.

In a separate post, she also took a look at the word mutt, meaning a mixed-breed dog. It comes from an older word muttonhead.

Language Tidbits

• Will dictation make us better writers? The Atlantic has a fascinating piece on cursive vs. typewriters vs. computers vs. voice-to-text.

• On Mars, a day is a sol, and yesterday on Mars is yestersol. More Mars-related terms from NASA.

• Siletz Dee-ni, an American Indian language pronounced SiLETZ day-KNEE, is being preserved. Listen to the poetic audio clips in the sidebar.

• One way of saying “to go from bad to worse” in Spanish: “ir de Guatemala a Guatepeor!” If you want more, check out A Dictionary of Mexican American Proverbs. A preview is available on Google Books.

Yours with frequency,


Martha Barnette and Grant Barrett
co-hosts of A Way with Words

Photo by Quinn Anya. Used under a Creative Commons license.

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