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Seeded Teams

March Madness is over, but the confusion lingers as to why teams are seeded in tournament brackets. The best theory is that brackets resemble sideways trees, and the teams are spread out evenly so the best can prosper—just like a in a garden. This...

At Sixes and Sevens

Cain from Dublin, Ireland, wonders why sportscasters in his country often say a team’s at sixes and sevens when they’re looking disorganized or nonplussed. The leading theory suggests that sixes and sevens, primarily heard in the United...

Building Storeys

Why are floors of buildings called stories (or storeys)? One theory suggests that an Latin architectural term historia once referred to the stained-glass windows or the ornate statues around the edifice. But the etymology is unclear. This is part of...

Petered Out

Does the expression petered out have to do with the Apostle Peter denying he knew Jesus? No, “petered out” may derive from the French peter, meaning to “pass gas.” Another theory is that the expression originated in mining...

Word Up!

What would you serve a plumber who comes over for dinner? How about … leeks? The hosts play a word game called “What Would You Serve?” Also, can you correct someone’s grammar without ruining a new relationship? And is there...