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Land of Nod

The term land of Nod, a joking reference to sleep, has its origins in the biblical Nod, to which Cain was exiled after murdering his brother Abel. Jonathan Swift first used it that way in his 1738 work, A Complete Collection of Genteel and Ingenious...

Goose Walking Over a Grave

A Wisconsin listener says that when her body gets an involuntary, inexplicable shudder, she says “A goose walked over my grave.” An early version of the saying, “There’s somebody walking over my grave!” appears in a...

Ending with a Preposition

Is it ever okay to end a sentence with a preposition? Oh, is it ever! Martha and Grant do their best to bury this tired old proscription. It’s a baseless rule concocted by 17-century grammarians, and it’s errant nonsense up with which...

spit take

spit take  n.— «Spit Take: Reaction to surprise news while drinking a glass of water was so perfected by one man that it will forever be known as the Danny Thomas Spit Take. At the dinner table, Danny’s reaction to any news he didn’t want...

bent

bent  n.— «The Union Cycliste Internationale, the governing body of international racing, banned recumbents after a ’bent rider began winning professional road races and shattering records in the early 1930s.» —by Ben...