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Cumin

Cumin, a spice often used in chili powder, is easy to think of as an exotic ingredient with an equally exotic pronunciation. But many dictionaries insist that its pronunciation rhymes with “comin’.” This is part of a complete...

Misplaced Foreign Inflections

Open your kitchen cupboard or a cookbook, and chances are you’ll come across a lot of spices and peppers with recognizable names that you still can’t pronounce properly, like turmeric, cayenne, and habanero. We often give foreign...

anting

anting  n.— «The behavior you witnessed, Mona, is called “anting.” I know it seems like it should be called “mothballing,” but anting is much easier to say. Plus, more often than not, birds rub their feathers with...

house

house  n.— «He also has become less interested in “getting a little house,” a term for attention-getting, applause-generating devices musicians use, such as playing a passage at super speed or holding a high note for a long...

wags

wags  n.pl.— «Pictures of the wives and girlfriends (or Wags as the FA’s acronym calls them) of the Euro 2004 England team, or of the wives and girlfriends of the 1999 US Ryder Cup team, for instance, show a classic feminine look where...