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The Asthenosphere

The asthenosphere, as described in Brian Kevin’s Yellowstone and Grand Tetons National Parks guide (Bookshop|Amazon) is a gurgling sea of plasticized rock beneath the earth’s rocky crust. Asthenosphere derives from Greek asthenes...

Tongue Lie Bumps

Ash from Arlington, Texas, says her great-aunt would refer to a red bump on one’s tongue as a lie bump. This expression is widespread enough to be used in medical textbooks, although papillitis is the official term, papillae being the...

“Shingles” Comes from Latin

The painful condition called shingles takes its name from Latin cingulum, meaning belt, because the inflammation often appears as a belt-like band around the torso. The Latin root of cingulum, cingere, meaning to gird, is also the source of cinch, a...

Spleeny

Jan in Ketchikan, Alaska, says when she worked in a hospital in Maine, co-workers described a patient with a low pain threshold or otherwise reluctant to move about as spleeny. New Englanders in particular use the term spleeny to mean fussy...

Spleeny

Spleeny, meaning “hypersensitive” or “hypochondriacal,” is chiefly heard in New England and goes back to an old sense of the spleen affecting one’s mood. This is part of a complete episode.

Brain Freeze

Sphenopalatine ganglioneuralgia, also known as brain freeze, is a variety of nerve pain that results from something cold touching the roof of the mouth. But some people who suffer from migraines actually find ice cream confuses the nerve in a way...