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Cus, Cumies, and Cumulous Clouds

The slang of paragliding includes the terms cus, pronounced like “cues,” and cumies, also known as cumulus clouds, which indicate good lift is available. For paragliders, the term cloud street refers to a line of cumulus clouds that...

Brand Spanking New

Take a look back at some notable words and phrases from 2017: Remember path of totality? How about milkshake duck? Also, a committee has to choose a new mascot for a school’s sports teams. They want to call them the Knights, as in the fighters...

All Verklempt

Of all the letters in the alphabet, which two or three are your favorites? If your short list includes one or more of your initials, that’s no accident. Psychological research shows we’re drawn to the letters in our name. • If you doubt...

Bruschetta Pronunciation

Bruschetta is the Italian bread soaked with olive oil and topped with savory ingredients. But how do you pronounce it? With a k sound or a sh sound? Although there are two widespread pronunciations, because it’s not fully anglicized...

Whistle in the Dark

The language and melodies of military marching songs connect grown children with their parents who served, as do parents’ love letters from World War II. Plus, “running a sandy” describes an awkward love triangle and Northern Spy...

Pronunciation of Gerrymander

A listener in New York City wonders about how to pronounce gerrymander, which means “to redraw the lines of an electoral district so as to favor a particular political party.” The term comes a joking reference to Massachusetts governor...

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