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Knucklehead

Joan from McKinney, Texas, wonders about the origin of the disparaging term knucklehead. It’s a mild insult, and as with blockhead and bonehead, it suggests that someone’s head is so full of blocks, bones, or knuckles that there’s...

A Scrimption

A scrimption is “something tiny,” or as described in a 19th-century newspaper article, “the minutest atom, the little end of nothing sharpened.” This is part of a complete episode.

Elbow Clerk

Speaking to a conference of judges and lawyers, Grant learns the term elbow clerk, meaning a clerk who works in the judge’s chambers. This is part of a complete episode.

Advisor vs. Adviser

R. Alan Smith from San Diego, California, is a strategic advisor. Or is he an adviser? There’s been a shift over the years from the -er spelling to the -or, but we’re pleased to announce that despite the style guides, advisor is the...

Dorothy Parker Book Reviews

You don’t want Dorothy Parker reviewing your novel — at least not when she’s dropping zingers like “This is not a novel to be tossed aside lightly, it should be thrown with great force.” Parker did have a way with words. How...