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New Yale Book of Quotations

One of our favorite new reference works is The New Yale Book of Quotations (Bookshop|Amazon) edited by Fred Shapiro, associate director for collections and access at the Yale Law Library. This volume is a vastly expanded version of the previous...

Dead Ringers and Spitten Images

Two familiar terms that have inspired lots of bogus etymologies are “dead ringer” and “spitting image.” “Dead ringer” probably comes from horse racing, where a ringer is a horse that may look like other horses in...

Complainant vs. Complainer

A Connecticut cop says his dad, a retired professor of English and comparative literature at Yale, has been reading his son’s police reports. They disagree about whether complainant is a legitimate word, or whether it should be complainer...