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Why Don’t We Pronounce the W in Two?

Shona in San Diego, California, is puzzling over why we don’t pronounce the w in the word two. The answer has to do with its etymological origins and the fact that spelling doesn’t change as quickly as pronunciation. This is part of a...

The “Meal” in Piecemeal

The word piecemeal means bit by bit. If you pay back a debt piecemeal, you repay it a little at a time. The -meal in piecemeal is an old term that means a measure of time or a specified portion. In Middle English, this element appears in several...

Fickle Finger of Fate

A young woman wants a family-friendly way to describe a statement that’s fraudulent or bogus, but all the words she can think of sound old-fashioned. Is there a better term than malarkey, poppycock, or rubbish? Also, listeners step up to help...

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