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Can of Worms

What do you call a guy with a bald pate? A chrome dome? Maybe the lucky fellow is sporting a solar panel for a sex machine. Also, which would you rather open: a can of worms or Pandora’s box? Plus, ordinary vs. ornery, versing vs. versus...

Can I Spell You

Mary, from Royal Oaks, Michigan, says she once confused a friend by offering to relieve her of snow shoveling duties with the question, “Can I spell you?” This usage of spell, which refers to substituting for a period of time, has been...

A Real Piece of Work

If someone’s a piece of work, they’re a real pain in the rear. Merriam-Webster defines a piece of work as “a complicated, difficult, or eccentric person.” The expression appears to derive from Hamlet: “What a piece of...

Bacon-Flavored Language

It’s another A Way with Words newsletter! This past weekend’s episode was a rebroadcast, which we named “Pickles and Ice Cream.” English speakers use those two when they want to compare two things that don’t go well...