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Staring at One’s Own Navel

Eleanor from Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts, is pondering navel-gazing after being surprised to learn that her adult son was unfamiliar with the term. Staring downward at one’s belly to induce a mystical trance has a long history: The...

Goonus, That Lovable Pudge

sBetsy in Virginia Beach, Virginia, says her family refers to the lovable pudge on babies as goonus. It’s a fond term that can also refer to such things as the swinging belly fat on a cat. Does anyone else say goonus or is it a family word...

“Shingles” Comes from Latin

The painful condition called shingles takes its name from Latin cingulum, meaning belt, because the inflammation often appears as a belt-like band around the torso. The Latin root of cingulum, cingere, meaning to gird, is also the source of cinch, a...

Ways to Say Someone is Pregnant

A father-to-be in Susanville, California, wonders about how many different ways there are to say a woman is pregnant. He likes the term great with child, but isn’t crazy about knocked up. Fortunately, there are more than 120 terms, including:...