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Pole-Splitting Superstition

It’s a common superstition: do not split a pole. That is, if two people are walking down the street, they shouldn’t each walk around a different side of a lamppost, telephone pole, or mailbox. But if they do, there’s a remedy: just...

Ride the Cow, Look for the Horse

Hi, all — In this week’s archive edition, we discuss not-so-smartphones, “Erin” vs. “Aaron,” “who” vs. “whom,” what happens when you “overegg the pudding,” and what it means to...

Knuckleheads

“You knucklehead!” Where’d we get an epithet like that? Grant tells the story about the wartime cartoon that helped popularize the term. Check out the adventures of R.F. Knucklehead in LIFE magazine. More about cartoons used for...

Apple Core, Baltimore, Forevermore

Hey! It's another newsletter from "A Way with Words," which this week was called "entertainingly erudite" by William Safire in the New York Times. Suh-weet! Our latest erudition came in the form of talk about "apple...

Yahtzee

Yahtzee  n.— «Regular readers of our site know about Yahtzees, a term I coined to refer to times when five or more cartoonists draw the same gag at the same time.» —“Harvard Cartoon “plagiarism”” by Daryl...

le sigh

le sigh n. an exaggerated interjection indicating frustration, resignation, yearning, weariness, etc. Editorial Note: Usually written, not spoken. Etymological Note: Usually attributed to the amorous French cartoon skunk Pepe Le Peu in the Looney...

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