22 Feb 2024

Slang Parents Hate

Q. Want to see a teenager cringe? Encourage Mum and/or Dad to throw in some ‘hip’ slang during carpool. “Oof. That sounds sus. He just salty because of your drip. Bet!” . 🤦🏽‍♀️ . A. Perhaps the best slang words are those that parents despise too much to steal and

17 Feb 2024

Beautiful Old

Q. How do the words we use affect our impressions of people, places, ideas or things that are ‘old?’ . A. Kintsugi. It’s a gorgeous word used to describe the Japanese practice of repairing broken ceramics with gold-dusted tree sap lacquer. No tossing that vase because it’s broken in half.

28 Jan 2024

Victorian Trash Talk

Q. Victorians were nothing if not colourful with their slang. A sampling? . . A. Here’s a few gems from James Redding Ware’s 1909 ‘Passing English of the Victorian Era’, with definitions tweaked in our own words … . Barber’s cat A man who is thin Born a bit tired

14 Jan 2024

It’s Cold. That’s All

Q. -16, -27 C. Here in the Pacific Northwest, those are some shockingly cold temperatures. What are some forgotten or little used words related to winter, snow, and cold? . A. Algid Feeling cold or chilly Apricity That wonderful moment when the sun breaks through and warms up a cold

03 Jan 2024

Dollars To Donuts

Q. What does the ‘dollars to donuts’ expression mean, and why did it come to be? . A. This late 1800s American expression means: I’m so sure I’m right, I’m willing to wager something valuable – dollars, for something undeniably cheap if I’m wrong – donuts. Clearly this ‘dollars to

14 Dec 2023

Too big for your boots, britches + trumpet

Q. It’s inspiring to see humility amongst those with otherworldly skills. Not a humble brag in sight despite an ability to will pucks into the net, scribble down musical masterpieces in a day, restore the peace in a bicker-heavy room. Contrast that to those who swan in with booming braggadocio

27 Nov 2023

Dystopian Doppelgänger Deepfakes

Q. At the end of each year, Merriam Webster mines their search data to see which words have been intriguing and puzzling readers for the past twelve months. Which word winners did they find for 2023? . . A. i. Authentic 👑 ii. Rizz iii. Deepfake iv. Coronation v. Dystopian

22 Nov 2023

Googlegangers + Widdershins

Q. What is that thing called again? . A. Thanks to Phineas and Ferb, millions of families now know the name of the small, protective metal or plastic tube at the end of a shoelace. All together now… the aglet. What are some other unusual words that describe the things

30 Oct 2023

Bits And Bobs

Q. First: many of us (🙋🏼‍♀️) are tempted to say “bibs and bobs,” but the expression – rooted in the UK – is bits and bobs. It’s a phrase that means this and that, a miscellany of small tasks, events, or things. Think about that teak apothecary chest at your

07 Oct 2023


Q. Where did this strange but totally satisfying word come from? Ugh. . A. ‘Ugh’, in its current English spelling, is said to date back to the late 17th Century. It’s meant to be an onomatopoeic word that – presumably when said quickly and quietly – sounds like a cough.