What does it mean to be stove up? This phrase for sore or stiff has nothing to do with a stovetop; stove is actually the past tense of stave. To stave in a wooden boat is to smash a hole in its side, and thus, to be stove up is to be incapacitated or damaged. These words are related to the noun stave, the term for one of those flat pieces of wood in a barrel. Similarly, to stave off hunger is to metaphorically beat it back, as if with a stick. This is part of a complete episode.
- Flop Sweat 07/24/2017: Gerrymandering draws political boundaries to tip elections towards certain political parties. Originally, the word was pronounced "GARY-mandering" with a hard "g." But why? And why... [more]
- Smile Belt 07/17/2017: The only time you'll ever see the sun's outer atmosphere is during a full solar eclipse, when sun itself is completely covered. That hazy ring... [more]
- A Shoo-in 07/10/2017: This week it’s butterflies, belly flowers, plot bunnies, foxes, and cuckoos. Also, writing advice from Mark Twain and a wonderful bit of prose from Sara... [more]
- Noon of Night 06/26/2017: As a kid, you may have played that game where you phone someone to say, "Is your refrigerator running? Then you better go catch it!"... [more]
- Boss of Me 06/17/2017: If you want to be a better writer, try skipping today's bestsellers, and read one from the 1930's instead. Or read something besides fiction in... [more]