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Historical Dictionary of Science Fiction

The new online Historical Dictionary of Science Fiction is a comprehensive, quotation-based online resource that’s a delight for language lovers of all kinds, and a treasure trove for sci-fi fans. It’s the work of lexicographer Jesse...

Spill the T vs. Spill the Tea

Debra, who teaches eighth graders in San Antonio, Texas, says some of them use the expression spill the tea meaning “spill the beans” or “share gossip.” The earliest version of this phrase, which appears in print in the early...

Carnegie

How do you pronounce the name Carnegie? The Scottish industrialist and philanthropist Andrew Carnegie, pronounced it with an accent on the second syllable, as his namesake the Carnegie Corporation of New York takes pains to make clear. Good luck...

Dictionaries: Print to Online

A Chicago-area listener wonders: When dictionaries go from print to online, are any words removed? What’s the best print dictionary to replace the old one on her dictionary stand? For more about dictionaries and their history, Grant recommends...

Commando

We’ve previously discussed the term “going commando,” meaning “dressed without underwear.” It first appears in print in 1974, but likely goes back further than that. The scene in a 1996 episode of Friends, wherein Joey...