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Laurels as an Honor

To garner the laurels, meaning “to collect praise” refers to the ancient practice of awarding crowns of bay laurel leaves to victors in competitions. This tradition of honoring distinction with such a wreath is reflected in the terms...

Staring at One’s Own Navel

Eleanor from Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts, is pondering navel-gazing after being surprised to learn that her adult son was unfamiliar with the term. Staring downward at one’s belly to induce a mystical trance has a long history: The...

Language in Petersburg, Alaska

When Therese moved from New England to Petersburg, Alaska, she heard a rich mixture of language that arose from the Tlingit people who live there part of the year, the Norwegians who immigrated there, and a thriving fishing industry. So you might...