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flipper

flipper  n.— «So CNN last week replaced the crawl with what it calls the flipper—a move, Mr. Feder said, that was designed to impart information but that “doesn’t give viewers a headache.” Usually, the flipper is a line of text at the...

Etymology of Aptronyms

There’s the late CNN broadcaster William Headline, the preacher named James God, and the physician named Dr. Hurt. Names like these that match the person’s profession are called aptronyms or aptonyms. We talk about the man who coined the...

glass closet

glass closet  n.— «There are still many performers and industry notables, he says, who threaten to sue if their sexuality is revealed. Others live gay social lives but don’t talk about their sexuality—the so-called “glass closet...

bull rope

bull rope  n.— «He said for years that he was at the funeral and that he photographed the boy. “I had a telephoto lens on my camera, and we were across the street behind what we called the ‘bull rope,’ that we had to stay there,” he said...

bust on someone

bust on someone  v. phr.— «Bonus points to Ryan Seacrest for calling Randy on his redundancy on the Wednesday half-hour. It’s about time the hosts busted on someone other than Simon.» —“R.J. gets voted off ‘American...