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A Flutter of Some Butterfly Lingo

Martha shares a story about finding a monarch caterpillar and watching its metamorphosis in its gold-dotted chrysalis (from the Greek chrysos, “gold” as in the word chrysanthemum, meaning “golden flower”), to the...

Gallywampus

The gallywampus is a large, wobbly insect that looks like an overgrown mosquito. These long-legged creatures and others like them go by lots of funny-sounding names, including gallinipper, gabber napper, and granny-nipper. This is part of a complete...

Just Can’t Gee-Haw

When two people can’t gee-haw together, it means they don’t get along. The terms gee-haw, or gee and haw, come from farming, where a trained animal obeys a command to go left or right–to gee or haw, in other words. Noncompliant...

Bah, Humblebrag!

What’s your choice for the 2011 word of the year? Grant shares some of his picks. Speaking of picks, why do football commentators seem to love the term pick-six? Also, great quotations from writers, the meaning of such Briticisms as cheeky and...

Earwigs

What is an earwig? Those skinny brown insects with pinchers coming out their backsides have a reputation in folklore for crawling through people’s ears and laying eggs in their skull. But really, earwigs are just simple insects that take their...

The Secret in Their I’s

Hi, all! In this week's archive edition, we discuss classic children's books, Faulknerian language, the double meaning of "sanction" and other Janus words, and a newcomer to Texas wants to talk like his neighbors: Summer reruns are...