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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...

“Tang” Mystery is Solved!

There have been three brand-new episodes broadcast recently. Did you catch them? • Three weeks ago, it was Shank of the Evening, in which we talked about sports nicknames, flounder vs. founder, Laundromats vs. washaterias, Black Dutch...

Guess What

English is full of unusual terms, both old (eleemosynary, favonian) and new (flyaway, catio). Also, the Swahili term that means “sleep like a log,” the multiple meanings of the word joint, cowpies and horse biscuits, what it means to...

Green’s Dictionary of Slang

Can you guess what a smiley is? No, the other smiley. Or how about tarantula juice? You could, of course, happen upon someone with a muffin top drinking inferior whisky, or you could look these terms up in the new Green’s Dictionary of Slang...

Great Spellers

What do you call an expert speller? A “Words With Friends” enthusiast wants to know. Martha tells her that a great speller is called an orthographer or orthographist, from the Latin roots ortho- meaning “straight” or...

Enamored Of

Should you use enamored of or enamored with? Grant explains that while North Americans use both, enamored of is the more common of the two. In Great Britain, it’s enamored of, a construction similar to those in several Romance languages...