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Sunken vs. Sank

Gail in San Diego, California, wonders what’s happening to past tense of verbs. She’s observed more uses of I could have went instead of I could have gone, and something had sunken instead of sank, and I was sat rather than I was seated...

The Origin of the Term “Bating” in Falconry

Jenny from Portland, Oregon, is fascinated by the language of falconers. In falconry, the word bate means “to flap the wings impatiently.” A similarly spelled verb, which has nothing to do with falconry, figures in the expression to wait...

To Greissel Someone

The verb greissel, also spelled greisle, means to “disgust,” “sicken” or “irritate,” as in That greissels me or I stayed greisseled about that for a long time. Greissel comes from a family of German words that...

Dinna Fash

Catherine in Battle Creek, Michigan, saw a bumper sticker with the Scots phrase Dinna fash, meaning “Don’t worry.” Dinna in this phrase means “don’t” and fash incomes from a French verb fâcher, meaning “to...