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Who Was That Masked Mantis? May. 22, 2019

The Word Guy

Picture a mosquito with a musket, a mantis with a crystal ball, and a larva wearing a mask. Entomolo... Read More

Can You Catch 40 Winks? May. 15, 2019

The Word Guy

Can you find and replace each of the 40 usage errors in this account of my spring-cleaning? (The num... Read More

FDR's Prose Crackled with Clarity May. 08, 2019

The Word Guy

Jill Lepore's new book "These Truths," a delightfully quirky and informative romp through U.S. histo... Read More

Reader Bludgeons 'High Dungeon' May. 01, 2019

The Word Guy

Q: I was watching a news program, and one of the guests said someone "was in high dungeon" instead o... Read More

Blooper Patrol Laps Up Lapses Apr. 24, 2019

The Word Guy

The ever-vigilant Word Guy Blooper Patrol has been working overtime to apprehend examples of erroneo... Read More

Origins Breathe Life Into Words Apr. 17, 2019

The Word Guy

Studying the origins of words can seem like an esoteric enterprise, relegated to nerdy scholars poki... Read More

Being Letter-Perfect Casts Its Spell Apr. 10, 2019

The Word Guy

Duz speling evan mattar enymore? After all, you knew what I meant, right? Companies deliberately mis... Read More

Baseball Banter Is Easy-Going ... Going, Gone! Apr. 03, 2019

The Word Guy

Batter up and banter up! The new baseball season is in full swing, and the playful palaver of the pl... Read More

'Glide Path' Lands Smoothly on Political Runway Mar. 27, 2019

The Word Guy

On "PBS NewsHour" last month, South Bend, Indiana, mayor and likely presidential candidate Pete Butt... Read More

'Predominately' Makes Purists 'Ant'sy Mar. 20, 2019

The Word Guy

Q: Why do some people use the adverb "predominately" instead of "predominantly"? Is this an accepted... Read More

Origin of 'Gory' Misses Bull's-Eye Mar. 13, 2019

The Word Guy

"The running of the bulls got off to a gory start." That was the first sentence in a CBS News report... Read More

Those Roman Plurals Are Roamin' Mar. 06, 2019

The Word Guy

Q. I've noticed that some publications are using "millenniums" in place of "millennia," e.g., "The m... Read More

Today's Politics? Don't Get Me Started! Feb. 20, 2019

The Word Guy

During the recent partial government shutdown, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi repeatedly called Presiden... Read More

A Fortuitous Encounter With Al Michaels Feb. 06, 2019

The Word Guy

During a recent NFL playoff game, veteran NBC sportscaster Al Michaels reported that an official's p... Read More

Don't Be Judgy about 'Backflash' Jan. 23, 2019

The Word Guy

Some random dispatches from the Word Front, including one from the War Front: Flashback to "Backflas... Read More

What 'Caws'es Us To Say 'Crowbar'? Jan. 16, 2019

The Word Guy

Q. What's the origin of "crowbar"? — Al Cohen, Newington, Connecticut A. A crow, a robin and a... Read More

This 'Calling Card' Hasn't Expired Jan. 09, 2019

The Word Guy

When a TV weather forecaster described a November blast of cold air as "winter's calling card," I wo... Read More

Words That Go Bump in the Night Dec. 26, 2018

The Word Guy

As a young graduate student, I once took a flight to Minneapolis that left LaGuardia Airport in New ... Read More

New Books on Language Bring Holiday Cheer Nov. 21, 2018

The Word Guy

There's no place like tome for the holidays. These new books will delight the word-lovers on your sh... Read More

These Tools Have Fascinating 'Handles' Nov. 07, 2018

The Word Guy

During college, I spent an entire summer with a lute in my hands. No, I wasn't strumming medieval ma... Read More