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Faux Amis

Beware of false friends, those words that don’t translate the way you’d expect. For example, the word “gift” in German means “poison,” and the Spanish word “tuna” means “the fruit of the prickly...

“Three and a Match” Quiz

Quiz Guy John Chaneski puzzle this week is called “Three and a Match.” The challenge is to figure out three words from a common category—say, nationalities—that go with each of the three clues he mentions. If, for example, three clues...

We Cook Off Our Potatoes (minicast)

If a restaurant menu states, “We cook off our potatoes,” what in the heck does that mean? A truck driver who encountered such an announcement at a roadside cafe is still puzzling over what it means to “cook off” a tuber. He...

Horseradish

A Burlington, Vermont, caller wants to know: Is horseradish so named because of this root’s strong resemblance to part of a horse’s anatomy? This is part of a complete episode.

pencil top

pencil top  n.— «Most commercial companies over-prune palms leaving fronds with a V-shape referred to as a “hurricane cut.” Constant removal of these leaves will result in a condition referred to as “pencil top”...

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