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Blame Tutivillis, the Writers’ Demon

If you’ve ever sent a really important email and only later caught an embarrassing misspelling right there in the message header, there’s no longer any need to blame yourself. Blame Tutivillis, the medieval demon who introduced errors...

The Ex-Mrs. Bradford

Another followup to our conversation about items left in library books and forgotten: a former reference librarian in Denton, Texas, shares photographs of a most unusual business card hidden away in a book and found by a colleague. The front side is...

Episode 1539

Clever Clogs

Ribbon fall. Gallery forest. You won’t find terms like these in most dictionaries, but they and hundreds like them are discussed by famous writers in the book Home Ground: A Guide to the American Landscape. The book is an intriguing collection...

A Borrowed Day

An email from Sam Rittenberg in New York, New York, describes his mother’s use of borrowed day, a term so closely associated with her that her family had it inscribed on her tombstone. This is part of a complete episode.

Bus Number 11

Our conversation about slang terms for traveling by foot prompted an email from Tom in Canton, Texas, who reports that while living in Israel, he used to hear fellow high school students say in Arabic that they were taking bus number 11, the long...

Burn Bag

The slang coming out of Victorian mouths was more colorful than you might think. A 1909 collection of contemporary slang records clever terms for everything from a bald head to the act of sidling through a crowd. Plus, how to remember the difference...