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'Flatten' Down the Hatches! Apr. 01, 2020

The Word Guy

The mantra of public health experts during the current coronavirus pandemic has been, "Let's flatten... Read More

'Existential' is the 'Dumpster Fire' of 2019. Like, Literally. Dec. 06, 2019

Daily Editorials

Fancy words go in and out of fashion, positing an existential temptation to overuse them like salt. ... Read More

Lock, Stock and Peril Oct. 02, 2019

The Word Guy

— Answering a Loaded Question: President Donald Trump's recent description of the U.S. militar... Read More

Reading Between the Lines Sep. 25, 2019

The Word Guy

Bing Crosby once crooned in a classic song, "You've got to accentuate the positive/ Eliminate the ne... 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

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

'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

I Only Have Calves for You Feb. 27, 2019

The Word Guy

A Liberty Mutual commercial depicting a bicyclist with grossly overdeveloped "custom" calves feature... 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

This Quiz Leaves No Room for Error Feb. 13, 2019

The Word Guy

"Roominate" on the choices posed by this usage quiz as it races from the classroom to the emergency ... 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

The Revel Is in the Details Jan. 30, 2019

The Word Guy

A vivid passage from Michelle Obama's memoir, "Becoming," refreshed my appreciation for the intense ... 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

What Are the Rules for 'Fewer' and 'Less'? Dec. 19, 2018

The Word Guy

My seventh-grade English teacher, Mrs. Morris, was a formidable and forthright woman. And when it ca... Read More