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Kind vs. Nice

What’s the difference between the words kind and nice? It’s perhaps best described as the difference between demeanor and behavior. Being nice refers to how you appear to be, whereas kindness refers to how you act, and what you do for...

Origin of Listless

What’s the origin of the term listless? Does it mean you can’t find the piece of paper with the groceries you need? No. Listless shares a root with the English word lust. In its most literal sense, listless means “without...

Raining Cats and Dogs

Get out your umbrellas — it’s raining pitchforks and … bullfrogs? This week, it’s odd expressions that mean “a heavy downpour.” Also, holistic vs. wholistic, recurrence vs. reoccurrence, flash drive vs. thumb drive...

Pimping Med Students

Pimping med students is a common practice in hospitals. But not that kind of pimping; the term pimp, possibly from the German pumpfrage, meaning “pump question,” refers to the method of tough quizzing that doctors put their young...

‘Puter Principle

What do you call an upgrade gone wrong? Perhaps the ‘Puter Principle could be the software equivalent of the Peter Principle, which in business means that every employee in a hierarchy tends to rise to his or her level of incompetence. This is...

Gorked and Crimped

What does it mean to be gorked or crimped? These slang terms for “high on drugs” are used by hospital and emergency medical services workers to help cope with the stress of such traumatic work and to build solidarity among co-workers...