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Oxter

What’s an oxter? It’s another term for the underarm, primarily used in Northern England, Scotland, and Ireland. A bit nicer than armpit, isn’t it? Oxter can also serve as a verb, as in, “We oxtered him out of the club.”...

Long I Word Game

Our Quiz Guy John Chaneski has a game called Aye Aye, Captain about phrases with that long “I” vowel sound. For example, a colorless synonym for a fib would be a white lie, and another name for a mafioso might be a wise guy. This is part...

Nothing to Sneeze At

Forensic linguists use what they know about speech and writing to testify in courtrooms. And get out your hankies! Martha and Grant are talking about the language of … sneezing. And what do you call it when you clean the house in a hurry...

Flyer vs. Flier

Is the synonym for pamphlet spelled flyer or flier? Both. In the UK, it’s more often flyer, and in the US, flier is preferred. This is part of a complete episode.

Prefix

Why does the prefix in- sometimes make a synonym rather than an antonym? In the case of invaluable, the prefix is still a negation, since it suggests that something’s value is incalculable. Michael Quinion‘s website affixes.org shows how...

Harding’s Normalcy?

Did President Warren G. Harding coin the term normalcy in his famous Return to Normalcy speech? Turns out the word normalcy was already in use before Harding made it famous. Its synonym, normality, is generally the preferred term. Harding is also...

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