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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...

Episode 1489

Flying Pickle

How would you like to be welcomed to married life by friends and neighbors descending on your home for a noisy celebration, tearing off the labels of all your canned foods and scattering cornflakes in your bed? That tradition has almost died out...

James Baldwin Quote

In 1963, the writer James Baldwin was the subject of a profile in LIFE magazine, in which he observed, “You think your pain and heartbreak are unprecedented in the history of the world, but then you read.” This is part of a complete...

Episode 1455

Sunny-Side Up

Baseball has a language all its own: On the diamond, a snow cone isn’t what you think it is, and three blind mice has nothing to do with nursery rhymes. And how do you describe someone who works at home while employed by a company in another...

Episode 1465

Knuckle Down

A wingnut is a handy, stabilizing piece of hardware. So why is it a pejorative term for those of a certain political persuasion? Also, is there something wrong with the phrase committed suicide? Some say that the word commit is a painful reminder...

Another Name for “Committing Suicide”

The Mighty is a website with resources for those facing disability, disease, and mental illness. In an essay there, Kyle Freeman, who lost her brother to suicide, argues that the term commit suicide is a source of unnecessary pain and stigma for the...