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A Leg Up

Ali in Toronto, Canada, wonders about the expression to give or have a leg up, meaning “to be a step ahead of everyone.” The phrase comes from the idea of providing assistance to someone getting up into a saddle. A similar expression is...

Crankshaft and Basketbrawl

Grant offers examples from his latest words of the year list, including Crankshaft (the code name for the Osama Bin Laden), and basketbrawl, referring to the fight that broke out between the Georgetown Hoyas and the Chinese National Team. This is...

convertitis

convertitis  n.— «But converts have something to do with this too: it’s not all about susceptibility to Wahabism and Islamism. In the early months and in some cases early years after conversion to Islam, many undergo what long-standing...

print Islam

print Islam  n.— «Add that to the proliferation of what’s called print Islam, that is to say the media, whether it’s broadcast or printed et cetera, whereby more and more Muslims are aware of what’s going on in other parts of the Muslim...

sudden jihad syndrome

sudden jihad syndrome  n.— «This is what I have dubbed the Sudden Jihad Syndrome, whereby normal-appearing Muslims abruptly become violent. It has the awful but legitimate consequence of casting suspicion on all Muslims. Who knows whence...

Johnny Jihad

Johnny Jihad  n.— «He and his cousins learned to ignore the pejoratives of war, words like “hajji,” “camel jockey” and “Johnny Jihad.” They understood that their fellow marines had to dehumanize the enemy in order to carry on...