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A Will-o’-the-Wisp

Ruth in Cincinnati, Ohio, is curious about the lyrics to the Rodgers and Hammerstein classic “Maria” from the movie The Sound of Music. Maria, a nun who’s not quite a good fit for the abbey, is described as “a...

Schussel

In parts of the United States where Pennsylvania German is spoken, the term schussel means “to wiggle” or “to fidget.” The German word schusselig means “hasty,” “clumsy,” or “sloppy,” and...

Overarching Sentiments

What sort of language is worthy of being inscribed in stone? A frieze on the James A. Farley Building in New York City is inscribed with Neither snow, nor rain, nor heat, nor gloom of night stays these couriers from the swift completion of their...