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Smile Belt

The only time you’ll ever see the sun’s outer atmosphere is during a full solar eclipse, when sun itself is completely covered. That hazy ring is called the corona, from the Latin word for “crown” — just like the little crown...

Periodic Table Word Game

Quiz Guy John Chaneski’s puzzle is inspired by the periodic table, and involves adding the chemical symbol for an element to one word in order to form an entirely new word. For example, if you take the hat from a baseball fan and add helium to...

Word Challenge

Quiz Guy John Chaneski’s challenge involves phrases of two words, each of which ends in the letter a. For example, if you mix nitric acid and hydrochloric acid, you get a yellow, fuming, corrosive liquid that eats metals, even gold...

Triboluminescence

Martha went on an overnight backpacking trip and came back with a new word: triboluminescence, which refers to the glow created by rubbing together two pieces of quartz. The tribo- is from a Greek root meaning “to rub,” the source also...

Words with Ph-Th

Phthalate, a compound in chemistry, got us thinking about other words with ph and th right next to each other. This is part of a complete episode.

Pronunciation of “Secreting”

To secrete means “to produce and discharge a fluid,” a back-formation from secretion. But a similarly spelled verb means “to deposit in a hiding place.” For both verbs, the pronunciation of the past tense, secreted, requires...