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The term wordsmith is formed by analogy with older words such as blacksmith, goldsmith, silversmith, and locksmith — all denoting skill and expertise with a particular medium. This is part of a complete episode.

To Hell in a Handbasket

A Huntsville, Alabama, man finds that his younger co-workers have never heard the phrase going to hell in a handbasket. Although the expression is at least as old as the U.S. Civil War, its etymology remains unclear. In the early 1960s, the humorist...

Invitation Etiquette

Addressing a wedding invitation to Mr. and Mrs. John Smith is pretty old-fashioned. It’s more than appropriate these days to address both a husband and wife by their respective names. But if you’re inviting someone who prefers the old...

Advisor vs. Adviser

R. Alan Smith from San Diego, California, is a strategic advisor. Or is he an adviser? There’s been a shift over the years from the -er spelling to the -or, but we’re pleased to announce that despite the style guides, advisor is the...