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Moonglade and Sunwake

The gold or silver light you see shimmering on the water at night is called moonglade or moonwake. Similarly, the sun shining on the water is called sunglade or sunwake. This is part of a complete episode.

Clean as the Sound of a Whistle

If something’s clean as a whistle, that doesn’t mean it’s shiny and spotless like a silver whistle in a referee’s mouth. The idiom refers to a whistling sound: That piercing noise is super-bright and finely edged on the ear...

Forensic Linguistics

Forensic linguistics, the subject of a recent New Yorker piece by Jack Hitt (in full here, is a useful tool in the courtroom. Linguists like Roger Shuy, who’s written a handful of books on the subject, have managed to solve criminal cases by...

Cut to the Quick

If you cut something to the quick, it means you’re getting at its very essence. It comes from the Old English word cwicu, meaning alive. It the source of the quick in the phrase the quick and the dead, as well as the words quicksilver...