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A Pound of Pennies

If someone’s a pound of pennies, it means they’re a valuable asset and a pain in the butt, all at the same time. Grant and Martha are stumped on the origin of this one, though it is true that a pound of pennies comes out to about $1.46...

Honored vs. Humbled

This awards season, many winners will say, “I’m humbled by this honor.” Ann from Burlington, Vermont, wonders: Shouldn’t they feel honored rather than humbled? What’s so humbling about winning awards? Grant argues that...

Dish-to-Pass Supper

A dish-to-pass supper, common in Indiana, is the same as a pot-luck supper or a covered-dish supper, but the term nosh-you-want drew a red flag when Grant went to visit the Wikipedia page for potluck. It hadn’t appeared in any other form of...

Scissors, Paper, Rock

What’s the best way to win at scissors, paper, rock? Grant delves into the game’s various monikers, its roots going back centuries in Europe and Asia, and the role it plays among children learning about fairness. Studies have even been...

Words of the Year 2012

Grant has compiled his ninth annual words-of-the-year piece for The New York Times Sunday Review section. Among these gems is the verb doxing, as in documenting someone’s life and share it on the web. What were your picks for the words of 2012...