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Reader Offers a Clever 'Why's Crack?' Sep. 04, 2019

The Word Guy

Q: Why is the adjective "crack" used to describe someone who's good at something, as in a "crack sho... Read More

Newspaper Nomenclature Has Nautical Nature Aug. 28, 2019

The Word Guy

Q: I've noticed that the word "masthead" is often used to refer to the name on the front page of a p... Read More

Using 'Times Less' Subtracts From Clarity Aug. 21, 2019

The Word Guy

Q: I see the following two phrases all too often: 1) "Three (or two or four) times less." I would th... Read More

'Trooper' Trope Troubles Troupers Aug. 14, 2019

The Word Guy

Q: The lead character in the comic strip "Rex Morgan, M.D." recently referred to someone as a "real ... Read More

Turn On, Tune In, Drop Album Aug. 07, 2019

The Word Guy

Q: Musicians used to "release" a new album, but now a new album is "dropped." What the heck is that?... Read More

When Modifiers Unbuckle, They Give Us a Chuckle Jul. 31, 2019

The Word Guy

"Watch the birds as they hunt for fish using your own binoculars." Will the birds swoop down and gra... Read More

New Verb Provides an 'Other' Perspective Jul. 24, 2019

The Word Guy

In a recent op-ed piece urging us to welcome and celebrate differences among people, Trinity College... Read More

Full Speed 'Ahead'! Jul. 17, 2019

The Word Guy

Some random dispatches from the Word Front ... — Off With Their "Aheads": When did "ahead of"... Read More

Space Age Lingo Is Still in Orbit Jul. 10, 2019

The Word Guy

As the 50th anniversary of the Apollo moon landing blasts off, commentators will surely cite the spa... Read More

One Small Misstep for a Man? Jul. 03, 2019

The Word Guy

Did Neil Armstrong flub the first sentence spoken on the moon? The audio transmission of his words s... Read More

Similes Swing Open Doors of Meaning Jun. 26, 2019

The Word Guy

Well-placed similes are like well-oiled hinges, allowing readers to open doors of meaning with ease ... Read More

This Word Sails to Many 'Ports' of Call Jun. 19, 2019

The Word Guy

Like a wandering sailor, the Latin root "porto" has a girl in every ... well, port. "Porto" means "c... Read More

Are You Booked for the Summer? Jun. 12, 2019

The Word Guy

If you're bound for the beach, boardwalk or boat this summer — or just the back porch — ... Read More

Dogged Readers Snarl at Pet Peeves Jun. 05, 2019

The Word Guy

Every so often, I like to unleash my readers' pet peeves, aka 'pete noires, 'cur'sed terms and 'dog'... Read More

Unzipping the Origin of 'Fly' May. 29, 2019

The Word Guy

Why is the opening on men's trousers called a "fly"? Before your speculation starts to soar too high... 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