27 Feb 2021

Spider-Man Says Hey

Q. Wakanda Forever! Now is as good a time as ever to get re-steeped in the MCU. Which words do key Avengers characters say most? . A. Someone has, of course, done the math. In 2018, data scientists Dr. Elle O’Brien and Matt Winn analyzed scripts and character word counts

15 Feb 2021

Just Peachy

Q. What are some common English idioms – current and past – built around fruit? . A. Pleasant Enough Apple of your eye Now this is a person who makes you proud; tops on your list. Like Comparing Apples and Oranges These two things are too dissimilar; you can’t really

13 Feb 2021

Old Words For New Scandals

Q. Scandals are piling up so quickly these days, it’s hard to keep them straight. Wait, who did that again? We’re going to need some more descriptors; one story sounds just like the last. Are there any ancient or abandoned words ready to spring back into action? . A. The

25 Jan 2021

Starts with S, ends with X

Q. What are some of the euphemisms that polite – or seemingly polite – society have used to describe love (or lust) making over the centuries? . A. . Amorous congress . Basket-making . Behind door work . A bit of summer cabbage . Blanket hornpipe . Boil the cabbage

09 Jan 2021

Puggles, Porcupettes + Pufflings

Q. We know about kits, cubs, calves, chicks, pups, but what are some less common names for baby animals? . A. Alligator: hatchling Ant: antling Alpaca: cria Baboon: infant Boar: shoat Cicada: nymph Cod: codling Cormorant: shaglet Echidna: puggle Goat or sheep: yeanling Grasshopper: nymph Hare: leveret Hedgehog: piglet .

28 Dec 2020

Detective + Spy Words

Q. What are some lesser used or vintage words for the world of spies and detectives? . A. Wannabe Nancy Drew/Hercule Poirot/Sherlock Holmes to the books … Argute Shrewd Birdwatcher A spy Cannon-Shooter A private investigator who specializes in tracking down pickpockets Chicken Feed The real but ultimately harmless intelligence

09 Dec 2020

You’re So Vain

Q. What are some lesser used words to describe crushing arrogance? . A. Airish Acting superior and snobby with nothing but hot air to back it up. Biggity Self-important, boastful, unbearably vain. Blandiose Grandiose meets bland. Blatteroon A person who brags and babbles endlessly. Bumptious Loudly, gratingly, cluelessly cocky. Frustraneous

24 Nov 2020

2020 Word Of The Year

Q. It’s that time. What is Oxford English Dictionary’s official word of 2020? . A. 2020 is such a hot mess, it broke the dictionary. ‘Given the phenomenal breadth of language change and development during 2020, Oxford Languages concluded that this is a year which cannot be neatly accommodated in

16 Nov 2020

Famous Authors’ Favourite Words

Q. Have you ever stumbled into the fact that you use the same handful of quirky words over and over again: in writing, in emails, in phone conversations? Or perhaps you too have found yourself presenting to a group and suddenly, for no conscious reason, the same word keeps popping

23 Oct 2020

Forecast Rain

Q. Come late fall and winter, world-weary weather folk in B.C. have to look for awfully creative ways to deliver the same news: it’s raining. Or it may rain. A lot. Hurrah for those days of crisp sun or a dusting of snow. But, what are some old or little-used