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Mallorca’s Flag Pun

Fans of vexillology, the study of flags, know that the town of Manacor on the island of Mallorca has a municipal flag that features a visual pun on its name. It’s a drawing of a hand holding a heart, inspired by the Catalan words mà, meaning...

Boy Friday

A young woman is puzzled when her boyfriend’s father says he was looking for someone who needs a good boy Friday. It’s most likely a reference to Daniel Defoe’s 1719 novel Robinson Crusoe. The title character spends 30 years on a...

Silent S in Island

If you were stranded on a desert island, wouldn’t you get to thinking how odd it is that we don’t pronounce the s in island? It was added during the Renaissance in an attempt to make the word look more like its Latin source, insula. This...

Hoosier

Is Hoosier a derogatory term? People from Indiana proudly embrace it, but in the dialect island that is the St. Louis area, the word means someone who is uncouth or uncultured. In Southern Appalachia, the related words hoodger, and hoojer still...

Jamrocks

Jamrocks  n.— «Jamrocks (the word is Jamaican patois slang for the island country) is a funky little place.» —“It’s ’Marley and me’ at Jamrocks Grill” by Mary K. Means Bradenton...

brass-plate bank

brass-plate bank  n.— «He was first investigated 20 years ago when he became a subject of a joint Scotland Yard-FBI investigation into so-called “brass-plate” banks on the Caribbean island of Montserrat. The investigation was set up after...

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