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Pour Over vs. Pore Over

Do you pour over a document or pore over a document? Although it’s tempting to assume that the phrase alludes to pouring one’s attention all over something (as if your vision was a substance), the correct word is pore, a term that since...


A woman who grew up in Albuquerque recalls that when one of her schoolmates got in trouble, she and their peers would say ominously, “Umbers!” This slang term is apparently a hyperlocal version of similarly elongated exclamations like...

Reading Poems in Succession

Glyn Maxwell, in a recent review of the book Ideas of Order: A Close Reading of Shakespeare’s Sonnets, argues that reading the sonnets altogether in a collection is a little strange, since many of them are worth more attention than...

Origin of “Whistle Britches”

Whistle britches, a Southern term for fellows who draw a lot of attention to themselves, comes from the sound corduroy trousers make when you walk and the wales rub against each other. This is part of a complete episode.