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Counting Coup

Counting coup refers to a tradition among the Plains Indians of North America of winning prestige and showing dominance by edging close enough to an enemy to strike him without dealing a deathblow. This is part of a complete episode.

Baseball Lingo

Ducks on the pond, frozen rope, tumblebug, and high cheese are baseball slang. Ducks on the pond means runners on base, frozen rope is a line drive, a tumblebug is a fielder who makes a catch and adds theatrical flair, and high cheese is a fastball...

Mark Twain’s Writing Advice

Writing advice from Mark Twain, who was not a fan of adjectives. In The Tragedy of Pudd’nhead Wilson, he says, “As to the adjective, when in doubt, strike it out.” He also wrote a letter with clever, useful advice that still holds true for the...

Origins of “Camp” and “Campy”

The noun camp and the adjective campy refer to movies, theater, or a style or an exaggerated manner of creative or personal expression that combines high and low elements of culture. These terms were first used in the underground gay community, and...

The Worm Has Turned

“The worm has turned” suggests a reversal of fortune, particularly the kind of situation in which a meek person begins behaving more confidently or starts defending himself. In other words, even the lowliest of creatures will still...

cubital tunnel syndrome

cubital tunnel syndrome  n.— «Orthopedic specialists around the globe are seeing the worldwide strike of a new condition known as cubital tunnel syndrome (commonly called cell phone elbow) that can potentially cause long-term nerve damage...