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Close But No Tomato

Lucy, a middle-school student in San Diego, California, is puzzled by a phrase her mother uses when something is not quite up to snuff or falls short of the mark: close, but no tomato. It appears to be a variant of close, but no cigar, a phrase...

Hunk Waffle? Close Enough

On our Facebook group, a member told the story of teaching English in Japan, where a student couldn’t remember the slang expression stud muffin, but came pretty close by substituting his own term, hunk waffle. This is part of a complete...

Close the Refrigerator

If you’re tired of telling youngsters to hurry up and close the refrigerator, try this admonishing them with this phrase or one like it: “Stop letting the penguins out!” This is part of a complete episode.

Reading Poems in Succession

Glyn Maxwell, in a recent review of the book Ideas of Order: A Close Reading of Shakespeare’s Sonnets, argues that reading the sonnets altogether in a collection is a little strange, since many of them are worth more attention than...

side pocket

side pocket  n.— «Atticus angered some investors in March 2008 with how it treated its investment in Deutsche Börse. Atticus separated its roughly $1 billion stake in the exchange into what is known as a “side pocket,” which...

banging the close

banging the close  n.— «The CFTC alleges that the defendants employed a manipulative scheme commonly known as “banging” or “marking” the close. “Banging the close” refers to the practice of acquiring a...