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Names for Lightning Bugs and Fireflies

Fireflies have lots of different names in English, including lightning bug, lighter fly, glowworm, and third-shift mosquito. These insects have similarly poetic names in other languages. In Brazil, it’s a vagalume or wandering light, and the...

Verklempt

A listener in Sheboygan Falls, Wisconsin, wonders about the origin of the word verklempt, which describes someone all seized up with emotion. This Yiddish term, also spelled farklempt, enjoyed a surge in popularity during the 1990s when it was used...

Night Worries

Rare word fans: uhtceare, from Old English words that mean “dawn” and “care,” is a fancy term for those worries you fret over in the wee hours. Next time you find yourself lying awake at night worrying, try reading the...

A Few Quick Book Reviews

Although I don’t have as much time to read as I’d like, here are a few books I have recently read and enjoyed. Outwitting History: The Amazing Adventures of a Man Who Rescued a Million Yiddish Books by Aaron Lansky of the Yiddish Book...

Like a Boss

Where does the meme like a boss come from? The original boss may be the rapper Slim Thug, whose 2005 track “Like A Boss,” from the album Already Platinum (which never went platinum), lists the myriad tasks he performs like a boss (e.g...

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