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See the Elephant

If you’ve “seen the elephant,” it means you’ve been in combat. But why an elephant? Martha and Grant also discuss some odd idioms in Spanish, including one that translates as “your bowtie is whistling.” And what...

Early Language Acquisition

How do children acquire language? Do they start with nouns, like “Mama” and “cat,” then graduate to verbs and other parts of speech? Grant explains that language acquisition starts even earlier, with children simply emulating...

Origin of Military Expression

A West Point graduate says he and fellow members of the military use the expression He has seen the elephant to mean “He’s seen combat.” Grant explains that this expression originated outside the military. This is part of a...

blipster

blipster  n.— «So just what is a black hipster—a “blipster” or “alt-black”? Like many recent cultural trends, this one straddles race, politics, fashion and art. For the purposes of discussion, we’ll stick with men (though I have seen some...

Man-happen’in

Man-happen’in  n.— «Jessie Raven, 18, a December graduate from Lincoln-Way Central High School, is getting an education of a lifetime, spending four months in Beijing with her aunt and uncle. It’s a long way from Manhattan, or “Man...