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Self-Licking Organizations

The terms self-licking ice cream cone, self-eating watermelon, and self-licking lollipop all refer to organizations, such as governmental bureaucracies, that appear to exist solely for the sake of perpetuating themselves. This is part of a complete...

The Great Recession

Should the Great Recession be talked and written about as a proper noun? Recessions tend to be vague in their scale and timelines, so it’s problematic to mention them as proper nouns. Perhaps the similarities in sound between Great Recession...

Him and I or Him and Me?

If someone offered you a croaker with an old man’s face, would you accept? You should! Croaker is a slang term for a hundred dollar bill. Did you ever wonder why we turn up the air conditioning to bring the temperature down? Plus, the tricky...

Origin of the Term Byzantine

A physician heard a broadcaster use the term byzantine to describe the current health care system, and wonders about the origin of this adjective. Martha notes that the Byzantine Empire, which began in the 4th century A.D., was notable for its...

Bailiwick

If something’s not in your bailiwick, it’s not in your jurisdiction or area of control. But what exactly is a “bailiwick”? Martha explains that the two words which make up the term — bailiff and wick — have specific meanings...

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