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Do Me a Solid

What’s in YOUR spice rack? Say you’re cooking up a pot of chili, and you need to add more of that warm, earthy, powdered spice. Do you reach for a bottle of KOO-min? KYOO-min? Or are you going to add KUMM-in? The pronunciation given in...

An Issue with “Issue”

A listener from Madison, Wisconsin, has an issue with the word issue. She doesn’t like it being used as a synonym for problem. But the American Heritage Usage Panel has come around to accepting the new use of issue, so if that’s a...

Can’t Died in a Cornfield

If you say you can’t accomplish a task, someone might remind you “Mr. Can’t died in a cornfield.” This old saying is particularly evocative if you’ve ever been stuck in a cornfield, because it’s easy to think you...

Third Person Singular, Unknown Gender

What’s the rule on using they and their in place of his and hers? Grammarians a couple of centuries ago may have misapplied some Latin rules of grammar to the unruly English language, but the issue is clear today: the word they functions...

juicy

juicy noun. A person who illicitly carries alcohol in a water bottle. «Gwen Alexander, who’s been working at the Astoria pool for two years, confirms there haven’t been any issues with fighting this year but she said rule enforcement is...

News from Planet Word

Hi, all -- In this week's episode of "A Way with Words": If you want to make a room cooler, do you "turn up" the air conditioning? Or do you "turn it down"? Also, "croaker" meaning a...