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Junk in the Frunk

In an electric car, the trunk is in the front, not the back. Automotive engineers refer to this part of the vehicle as the frunk, a portmanteau of front and trunk. For a while, the Jaguar company, which is based in the UK, instead called it the...

Episode 1555

Mystery Drawer

Amid court-ordered busing in the 1970s, a middle-school teacher tried to distract her nervous students on the first day of class with this strange assignment: find a monarch caterpillar. The result? A memorable lesson in the miracle of metamorphosis...

What Do You Call Your Junk Drawer?

Nell in Madison, Wisconsin, says her family always had a drawer where they kept birthday candles, odd keys, matches, pencils, random batteries. They called it the mystery drawer. Some people call it a junk drawer or the work drawer. The term mystery...

Throw the House Out the Window

Buenos! In this week’s archive edition, we consider alternatives to the word “retirement.” We also discuss “swan song,” “bike-shedding,” “tohubohu,” “criteria,” and how to pronounce...

functional food

functional food  n.— «Too many kids are taken in by claims of health benefits in products that have been enhanced by chemical additives, including fiber, calcium, omega-3 fatty acids and vitamins. The industry calls these “functional...

fluff

fluff  n.— «At a recycling plant in San Pedro and five other similar operations around California, giant shredding machines annually reduce 1.3 million junk cars, refrigerators and other appliances into fist-sized chunks of metal...