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The Coffee “Is All”

Kathy in Rye, New York, used to live in Central Pennsylvania, where she was surprised by a friend announcing The coffee’s all meaning “The coffee’s all gone.” This phrase is a vestige of Pennsylvania Dutch, a dialect of...

Possum vs. Opposum

Danielle from Wells, Vermont, wonders if there’s a difference between a possum and an opossum. Scientifically speaking, they’re two different animals. The word opossum comes from a similar-sounding Algonquian term that translates as...

Language in Petersburg, Alaska

When Therese moved from New England to Petersburg, Alaska, she heard a rich mixture of language that arose from the Tlingit people who live there part of the year, the Norwegians who immigrated there, and a thriving fishing industry. So you might...

Patron vs. Customer

Suzie, who used to work at the Dallas Public Library, is wondering why librarians are being asked to refer to their patrons as customers. Does the word customer make consulting a library and borrowing books feel too much like a transaction? Eric...

zirp

zirp  n.— «The United States is repeating a Japanese experiment with a zero in one of the most important variables in financial markets: the official overnight interest rate. The so-called zirp, an acronym for zero interest-rate policy, is...