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Electric Hootenanny

Bathroom walls, missing graffiti, and social media. Where have all the cute quips on bathroom stalls gone?  We wonder about the apparent decline of restroom graffiti. Are people saving their witticisms for Twitter and Facebook?  And: If...

Cut Off the Nose to Spite the Face

The idiom “to cut off your nose to spite your face” has been attributed to a Medieval nun who described women cutting off their noses to look unattractive and thus preserve their chastity. Whether that story is true, cutting off...

Month of Sundays

If you’re on tenterhooks, it means you’re in a state of anxious anticipation or suspense. But what IS a tenterhook? The answer goes back to a 15th-century manufacturing process. Also, you probably have a term for those crumbs that...

A Coon’s Age

The idiom “I haven’t seen you in a coon’s age,” comes from an old reference to raccoons living a long time. Given the racial sensitivity involving the word, however, it’s best to use an alternative. This is part of a...

A Hole to China

Have a question about objective pronouns? Whom ya gonna call? Wait–is that right? Or would it be “who ya gonna call”? “Whom” may be technically correct, but insisting on it can get you called an elitist. It’s...

Whistling Dixie

Today’s most popular dog names are Max and Bella. In the Middle Ages, though, dogs would answer to names like Amiable. Or Nosewise. Or even … Clench. ? Is the term redneck derogatory? Some folks proudly claim that name. They say...

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