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Tick-Tacking and Other Pranks

Monica says that generations of children in her Augusta, Kentucky, neighborhood would go tick-tacking, or playing pranks during the nights leading up to Halloween — soaping car windows, tossing corn kernels onto front porches, leaving flaming paper...

Discourse Particles

So, um, where do those, er, filler words come from? Discourse particles, as they’re also known, are used to fill those gaps when we’re thinking of what to say but don’t want to lose our turn in a conversation. English isn’t...

What’s Black and White and Cute All Over?

I have a new neighbor, and I’ve been electronically snooping on him or her. I say “him or her” because the surveillance device is the PandaCam at the San Diego Zoo, which welcomed a bouncing baby panda a few weeks ago. And as the...

zero haircut

zero haircut  n.— «Zerbin said she sees a lot of women seeking a change in their haircut who have what hair dressers refer to as a zero haircut, meaning the length is the same all around.» —“New Year New ‘Do” by...

That Skirt is Almost up to Possible

The story goes that hemlines rise and fall with the stock market. If that’s the case, then we hope it’s not long before we’re all hearing people exclaim, “Why, that skirt is almost up to possible!” An Iowa listener...