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A Shadow Library Found Added to Books

In the 19th century, books were especially popular gifts — cheap enough to be owned by the middle class, but enough of an investment that people kept them for decades, then passed them down to the next generation or donated them to libraries...

Episode 1526

Abso-Bloomin-Lutely

The autocomplete function on your phone comes in handy, of course. But is it changing the way we write and how linguists study language? Also, suppose you could invite any two authors, living or dead, to dinner. Who’s on your guest list and...

Sailing Slang and Jargon

After hanging out with San Diego sailing enthusiasts, Martha picked up several bits of slang and jargon. Catenary describes the desirable curve of an anchor chain, from Latin catena, meaning “chain.” A chain that is not pulled up...

Ensure vs. Insure

What’s the difference between the words insure and ensure? To ensure means to make certain. Insure means to protect someone or something from risk, and should be used exclusively in a financial sense. This is part of a complete episode.

stand and sue

stand and sue  v. phr.— «There is no question that your managing director’s actions give employees a number of potential claims, not least of which is constructive and unfair dismissal—but are employees going to walk out of a job when...

wall-cross

wall-cross  v.— «Wells Fargo wanted to be among one of the first banks to get to the market before fund managers and investors became overwhelmed by the supply of stock. Being first also carried the risk that the offering could be too big...