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nonplusment

nonplusment  n.—Gloss: State of confusion or befuddlement; the noun form of the verb “nonplus.” Note: Not a new word, but rare.  «Perhaps unsurprisingly—apologies to the good people of 1956 Miami—the reception amid the swizzle...

Long Johns

To some folks, they’re thermals. To others, they’re long underwear. And some folks call them long johns. Are these warm undergarments named after some guy called John? This is part of a complete episode.

bug

bug  n.— «Now that Ms. Studart is no longer an apprentice, her prospects for rides are unclear, especially with more experienced jockeys coming to New York for the summer season. Trainers tend to favor apprentices—nicknamed “bugs” for the...

breezing

breezing  n.— «Ms. Studart starts most days at Belmont by 7 a.m. She spends mornings “breezing”—racing parlance for galloping at top speed—horses for various trainers, her braided hair flying behind her.» —“A Long Way From Home...

handkerchief head

handkerchief head  n.— «New York Rep. Gregory Meeks, a member of the Congressional Black Caucus, told Harold Ickes, “You don’t understand what it’s like. We get called “house Negro” and “handkerchief head” by...

back up the truck

back up the truck  v. phr.— «The safety of these securities caused financial firms to load upon on them (“back up the truck,” in Wall Street parlance). They were considered so safe that financial firms used borrowed funds to buy more, and...