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Tips for Lay vs. Lie

The difference between the verbs lay and lie has always been tricky to master, but Bryan Garner has some helpful tips. This is part of a complete episode.

Hyperbolic Headlines

We’re so jaded by the clickbait titles directing us to sites like Upworthy that the site Downworthy is doing something about it. And imagine what it’d be like if serious literature got the same treatment. This is part of a complete...

Giving Juan’s Clothes to Pedro

The idiom “rob Peter to pay Paul,” means “to borrow someone from someone in order to repay someone else.” In Nicaragua, the same idea is expressed by a phrase that translates as “take Juan’s clothes to give them...


Do dictionaries deal with copyright infringement or plagiarism when definitions match up between volumes? Since many modern dictionaries derive from the same few tomes, it’s common to see definitions that match. But lexicographers have been...

International Full-Deckisms

Simon Ager’s site Omniglot.com is stacked with full-deckisms from around the world. In English-speaking countries, someone who’s not quite with it is said to be “two sandwiches short of a picnic.” In Germany, however, this is...

My Dogs are Barking

A woman who grew up in India says she was baffled when someone with aching feet complained, “My dogs are barking.” The answer may lie in a jocular rhyme. This is part of a complete episode.

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