15 Aug 2023

Too Hot, Need Words

Q. What are some forgotten or little-used words relevant to hot, hot weather? You know, just in case anyone should be experiencing such a thing. . A. Apricate To luxuriate in the hot sun. Are we luxuriating yet? Besweat To drench in sweat. Caldarium The hottest room in Roman baths.

09 Aug 2023

Egg On One’s Floor

Q. As you walk, bike or drive your eggs home from the grocery store, aren’t you glad they’re not in a basket? Watch out for the… pot hole. Shoppers of yore didn’t ‘put all their eggs in one basket’ for good reason. Who can we thank for inventing the egg

26 Jul 2023

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 .

10 Jun 2023

Let Vultures Gripe Thy Guts

Q. Shakespeare created much beautiful imagery with birds. Take this quote from Romeo and Juliet: ‘Haply I think on thee, and then my state, Like to the lark at break of day arising From sullen earth, sings hymns at Heaven’s gate’ But, we do know that the Bard was brilliant

24 Apr 2023

Why Those Letters? IDK

Q. Day to day, we throw out abbreviations: acronyms – the first letter combinations we read as words, like NASA, and initialisms – the letters we read out singly, like FYI or DIY. Then there is the ‘depends who’s talking’ category. How do you say ASAP? For some it’s sounding

12 Apr 2023

We’re Saying It Wrong

Q. What are some expressions or idioms that we commonly garble? . A. Let’s see how we do. Which of these is correct? Each phrase is listed in alphabetical order. . Bald-faced lie . Barefaced lie . Bold-faced lie ♕ . Baited breath . Bated breath ♕ . Chalk it

30 Mar 2023

Pitiless Plurals

Q. When it comes to pairing singular and plural forms, the English language – with its muddle of word origins – is less than cooperative. To make things more confusing: some once ‘improper’ plurals have persisted their way into grudging acceptance. That said, dictionaries don’t agree. Dare one say ‘rhinoceri’?

20 Feb 2023

Cater Cousins + Matrikin

Q. Happy Family Day from B.C. What are some historic or lesser-used words to describe the world of relatives? . A. Agnation A family line through the paternal side Beldame A grandmother. Also, we must note, a nasty old name for an ‘unattractive, unfriendly aged’ woman. Cater-Cousin A fourth –

31 Jan 2023

Caught Red-Handed

Q. Afraid to ask, but where does the expression ‘caught red-handed’ come from? . A. Caught Red-Handed Blood on their hands. Today, if you’re ‘caught red-handed,’ you’ve been busted in the midst of a transgression; there’s no denying what you’ve done. The phrase dates back to 15th Century Scotland where the

22 Jan 2023

Nobody Says ‘Hack’ Anymore

Q. ‘It’s not the 80s. Nobody says ‘hack’ anymore’. “Genius Billionaire Playboy Philanthropist” Tony Stark – aka Iron Man – knew that in 2013. (Though he reserves the right, of course, to break his own rules later). What are some other workish words that come across as clichéd or dated?