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Losing a Day to the Date Line

After crossing the International Date Line, Alison from Riverside, California, wonders if there’s a word for losing an entire day when traveling between time zones. We suggest déjà noon and groundhogging, and offer a little ditty about time:...

Chopped Liver

There’s a proverb that goes “beloved children have many names.” At least, that’s true when it comes to the names we give our pets. “Fluffy” becomes “Fluffers” becomes “FluffFace” becomes...

Bun in the Oven

How many different ways are there to say you have a baby on the way? You can say you’re pregnant, great with child, clucky, awkward, eating for two, lumpy, or swallowed a pumpkin seed? • The story behind the word...

Flying Pickle

How would you like to be welcomed to married life by friends and neighbors descending on your home for a noisy celebration, tearing off the labels of all your canned foods and scattering cornflakes in your bed? That tradition has almost died out...

Skedaddle

The months of September, October, November, and December take their names from Latin words meaning “seven,” “eight,” “nine,” and “ten.” So why don’t their names correspond to where they fall in...

Hell’s Half Acre

Hundreds of years ago, the word girl didn’t necessarily mean a female child — in the 14th and 15th centuries, it could refer to a child of either sex. Only later did its meaning become more specific. • Some people think that referring to a...