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The Meaning of Swarf

Mark in Bostonia, California, works in a machine shop where a sign warned: Beware of coolant and swarf. The word swarf refers to filings or dust created from machine work. Swarf can also function as a verb meaning “to cover with dust or grit...

High School Clique Names

In high school, were you a jock or a nerd? How about a grit, or perhaps a Hessian, hesher, metalhead, or greaser — the dudes with roughed-up denim jackets, metal boots, and cigarettes in their shirt pockets — are an essential part of the student...

One Space or Two?

Is typing two spaces after a period “totally, completely, utterly, and inarguably wrong?” Also, is the language of the movie True Grit historically accurate? Also, shut your pie-hole, Southern grammar, oh my Lady Gaga, and a little town...

Oh My Lady Gaga

It’s another newsletter from “A Way with Words.” Woot! In last weekend’s episode: Is it wrong to type two spaces after a period? We arm-wrestle over that, and talk about the odd language in “True Grit.” Also...

flail chest

flail chest  n.— «The first week was the diciest, with Mr. Corzine, who was in an isolation room for security reasons, using a mechanical ventilator because in one small area the broken ribs were unable to help the lungs expand, creating...