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Episode 1508

Take Tea for the Fever

Silence comes in many forms. Writer Paul Goodman says there is, for example, the noisy silence of “resentment and self-recrimination,” and the helpful, participatory silence of actively listening to someone speak. • The strange story...

Antic Antique, Grotesque Grotto

Judith in Newbury Park, California, shares a funny story about how she used to mispronounce the word grotesque with three syllables. This term, meaning strange or unnatural or absurdly exaggerated, goes back to Italian grottesca, having to do with...

To Have Your Work Cut Out For You

To have one’s work cut out for you comes from an earlier phrase to have all one’s work cut out. Picture a tailor who’s working as fast as possible with the help of an assistant who’s cutting out the pieces to be sewn. If you...

Cabochon

A cabochon is a convex gem or bead that’s highly polished but not faceted. This is part of a complete episode.

Lapidary Prose

Lapidary prose is so elegant and precise that it’s worthy of being carved into stone. Lapidary comes from Latin lapis, meaning stone, and is related to the brilliant blue stone, lapis lazuli, and the word dilapidated, from a Latin word meaning...