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Mountweazels

Do dictionaries deal with copyright infringement or plagiarism when definitions match up between volumes? Since many modern dictionaries derive from the same few tomes, it’s common to see definitions that match. But lexicographers have been...

Serial Commas

Martha argues in favor of the serial comma, citing a recent newspaper caption: “The documentary was filmed over three years. Among those interviewed were his ex-wives, Kris Kristofferson and Robert Duvall.” How’s that again? This...

ghost shift

ghost shift  n.— «Very low serial numbers, like very low MAC ID addresses, are a hallmark of the “ghost shift,” i.e. the shift that happens very late at night when a rogue worker enters the factory and runs the production machine off...

fang-banging

fang-banging  n.— «“You know how many people are having sex with vampires these days?” The answer to this question, right at this present time, appears to be: quite a few. “Fang-banging,” as it is known in some parts of...

Soap Operas

How did serialized melodramas come to be called soap operas? The answer has to do with the suds-selling sponsors of old-time radio shows. This is part of a complete episode.

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