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Wet Dress Rehearsal

A wet dress rehearsal is a run-through of all the processes required before a rocket launch, up until, but not including, liftoff. What makes this simulation wet is that the rocket’s fuel tanks are filled, then drained once the countdown clock...

Plural of Training

Can the word training be pluralized, as in “How many trainings did you have last week”? Martha and Grant disagree about whether training can be a count noun. This is part of a complete episode.

One Elephant, Two Elephant

In the U.K., they don’t count seconds as “one-Mississippi, two-Mississippi,” because, well, they have no Mississippi. Instead, they say “one-elephant, two-elephant.” Lynne Murphy, author of the blog Separated by a...

Tickets to the Gun Show

Why do we call our biceps guns? The slang lexicographer Jonathon Green suggests that the metaphor first pops up in baseball around the 1920s, when players referred to their throwing arms as guns. Believe it or not, the early baseball pitchers...

Bangladesh Mustache Idiom

If you’re in Bangladesh, the expression that translates as “oiling your mustache in anticipation of the jackfruit tree bearing fruit” makes perfect sense. In English, it means “don’t count your chickens.” A...

Word Puzzle in Verse

Quiz Guy Greg Pliska shares a puzzle in verse, challenging the hosts to fill in the blanks with words that differ by just one letter. Like this: “I never count ___ when I’m going to ___; that method does not work for me. Right around...

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