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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...

Dressing the Bed Means Making the Bed

Janet calls from Aiken, South Carolina, to say that her father used to ask Have you dressed your bed? meaning “Have you made your bed?” The word dress likely derives from Latin dirigere, meaning “to straighten” or “to...

Turning Verbs into Nouns

Alan from Omaha, Nebraska, finds himself turning nouns into verbs, telling his daughter he’s glad she’s old enough to start to human and using jenga as a verb to refer to arranging items carefully, after the game Jenga, which involves...

amortality

amortality  n.— «You may not have heard of amortality before—mainly because I’ve just coined the term. It’s about more than just the ripple effect of baby boomers” resisting the onset of age. Amortality is a stranger, stronger...

method costumier

method costumier  n.— «The competition for the Best Costume Oscar is as fierce as in any of the acting categories. One of the 13 nominations achieved by The Curious Case of Benjamin Button went to Jacqueline West, who is known in Hollywood...

hot body

hot body  n.— «The reverse kimono dress is what the garment industry calls a hot body, meaning it sells so well that a designer makes it for more than one season, often tweaking it by using a new fabric.» —“Michelle Obama’s...