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Do it for The Hwyl

The new movie Dream Horse tells a true story that takes place in a tiny Welsh village. A bartender tries to breed a championship racehorse and persuades her neighbors to chip in. They agree, they say, because they want to do it for the hwyl. The...

Chip on the Shoulder

If one has a chip on one’s shoulder, they’re spoiling for a fight. The phrase derives from the old practice of literally putting a chip of wood or other small object on one’s shoulder and daring an adversary to knock the chip off...

Sea Knots

Why are distances at sea measured in knots? In the 1500s, sailors would drop a chip log off the side of the boat and let out the rope for about thirty seconds, counting how many knots on the rope went out. Eventually, one knot came to mean one...

Perendination and Procrastination

Hi, language lovers! Happy March 4, and Happy National Grammar Day! (Get it? “March forth” and syntactically sin no more?) Join the revelry here: Just don’t say we didn’t warn you about the earworm from that grammar song...

jacket fries

jacket fries  n.pl.— «They’re what some restaurants call “jacket fries”: oblong slices of fried skin-on Idaho potato. Crisp at the edges but thick enough to be fluffy in the middle, they’re a lovely hybrid of chip and french...

gun time

gun time  n.— «A similar issue arose at the Chicago Marathon two weeks ago, when Wesley Korir of Kenya finished fourth, despite starting five minutes after the elite runners. Like O’Connell, his time was clear because of the electronic...

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