TagService industries


What does a piggyback ride have to do with pigs? Not much. In the 16th century, the word was pickaback, meaning to pitch or throw on one’s back. It’s had dozens of spellings over the past few centuries, but perhaps the word piggy has...

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.

Laundromats and Washaterias

Do you wash your clothes at a Laundromat or a washateria? A chain of Laundromats in Texas that dated from 1930 to 1950 had the name Washateria, and it took hold as a general term, especially in Texas. This is part of a complete episode.

Nominations for 2008 Word of the Year

It’s that time again, when people start thinking about a new or resurgent word or phrase that best captures the spirit of the past year. And what a year! We heard the words bailout and lipstick more times than we’d ever dreamed, and saw...


hypermile v. to take extraordinary measures toward achieving maximum fuel efficiency in an automobile. (source: Double-Tongued Dictionary)