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Etui and Tweezers

With its unusual combination of letters, the word etui is a favorite of crossword-puzzle constructors. Etui means “a small case” and often refers to containers for carrying small instruments such as sewing needles and pins. This word was...

Episode 1561

Mudlarking

Twice a day the River Thames recedes, revealing a muddy shoreline. Hobbyists known as mudlarks stroll the surface searching for objects that have found their way into the river over the centuries, everything from ancient Roman jewelry to modern...

Minima and Maxima

Celia, from Spokane, Washington, is unhappy that fewer and fewer English speakers seem aware of the correct plurals of Latin and Greek words. She is bothered, for example, when someone refers to minimums rather than minima. Minima is more often a...

What’s the Plural for a Computer Mouse?

If you’re talking about the device used to control your computer’s cursor, is the plural computer mouse or computer mice? Either is correct, but the most common version is computer mice. In the early days of computers, engineers often...

The Pipes, the Pipes are Calling

Colin lives in Hollywood, California, where he’s a professional bagpipe player. But does he play the bagpipe or play the bagpipes? Either is correct, although most bagpipers use the plural form. Bagpipe music consists of a skirl, the...