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Take a Licking and Get Your Licks in

Paul in Camden, Maine, has adopted a new pup, and the dog’s exuberant face-licking has Paul wondering about the many meanings of the word lick, which include getting his licks in and takes a licking, which refers to the act of forcefully...

Gap, Notch, Saddle, and Pass

What you call the space between mountains depends on which part of the country you’re in. The word gap is used more in the Southern United States, notch in the Northeast, and saddle or pass in the West. See Grant’s analysis of place...

A Bird’s Bishop’s Nose

A woman in Omaha, Nebraska, is puzzled when a friend refers to the fatty tail bump of a cooked chicken as the bishop’s nose. It may have to do with that part’s resemblance on a cooked chicken or turkey to a human nose, or perhaps to a...

Gadarene

The adjective gadarene describes something headlong or precipitate, such as a gadarene rush to pass legislation. It derives from a story in the gospel of Matthew in which Jesus visits the land of the Gadarenes and casts out demons from someone...

Opaque vs. Translucent

A girl in Omaha, Nebraska, has a dispute with her father about the meaning of the words opaque and translucent. Opaque describes something that blocks light completely. Something translucent lets some light pass through. This is part of a complete...