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Nerd vs. Geek

Books that make great gifts for language-lovers, the difference between a nerd and a geek, and talk about a new term, poutrage, and what do you call the crust in the corners of your eyes after a night’s sleep?

Names for Locals

Residents of Maine are called “Mainers,” people in Texas are “Texans,” those in Wisconsin are “Wisconsinites,” and people in Phoenix are … “Phoenicians”? Grant and Martha explain that there are...

Nicknames Give Me the Heebie-Jeebies

Everybody has a nickname, and there’s usually a story to go with it. Martha and Grant reveal their own nicknames and the stories behind them. Also, is the expression “heebie-jeebies” anti-Semitic? And is there a better word than...

defac

defac  n.— Note: “Defac” is far less often spelled “difac,” despite being a blend of “dining facility.” «Camp Phoenix in particular, was an example of where the disease began with food preparation and...

Dilemma vs. Dilemna

An adult caller from Phoenix is stung by the memory of losing an elementary school spelling bee when he misspelled the word dilemma. He insists that his teachers taught him that the word contains a silent “n.” After all these years...

rent-a-cow

rent-a-cow  attrib.— «Just last week, Governor Rose Mofford signed a bill aimed at stopping developers like Keating from using a “rent a cow” tax dodge.» —“Charles Keating: What A Political Animas” by Jana...