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Are You A-Where of These Regional Terms? May. 20, 2020

The Word Guy

Despite the homogenization of American language during the past century, many delightful words uniqu... Read More

The Fake That Launched a Thousand Slips May. 13, 2020

The Word Guy

When the origin of a word seems obvious, beware! Consider these tricksters: Launch: You might assume... Read More

Are You Ready for a 'Double-Cross-Word' Puzzle? Apr. 29, 2020

The Word Guy

Let's play "Guess the Word Origin!" Can you select the correct derivation of these terms? 1. When so... Read More

Politicos 'Stand Up' a New Buzzword Apr. 08, 2020

The Word Guy

Today, two random dispatches from the Word Front ... — "Stand Up" Comedy — The Washingt... Read More

'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

'Epidemic'/'Pandemic' Distinction Requires Fine-Tuning Mar. 25, 2020

The Word Guy

During the current coronavirus scare, I've been taking comfort in playing the piano. I'm a terrible,... Read More

How a Virus Got Its Name Mar. 18, 2020

The Word Guy

As the current coronavirus disease spreads, several readers have asked me about the origin of its na... Read More

When Your Name Is Your Game Mar. 11, 2020

The Word Guy

I recently heard a radio interview with a spokesman for Venture Data, a company that conducts teleph... Read More

All's 'Fare' in Love and 'Commuting' Mar. 04, 2020

The Word Guy

Q: Why do we call someone who travels back and forth to work a "commuter"? — Chris Ryan, New Y... Read More

Taking the Terror out of 'Terrific' Feb. 26, 2020

The Word Guy

Q: Could you explain why "terrible" and "horrible" are synonyms but "terrific" and "horrific" are an... Read More

Iowa Caucus 'Debacle': Worse Than We 'Thaw't' Feb. 19, 2020

The Word Guy

Well, we finally found something that both Democrats and Republicans can agree on: The Democratic Io... Read More

Some Metaphors Are Beyond Comparison Feb. 05, 2020

The Word Guy

We swim in a sea of metaphors. Our everyday conversations teem with the minnows of comparison: We bi... Read More

Sitting in the Cat Word Seat Jan. 29, 2020

The Word Guy

On an evening dark and dreary, I was pondering possible topics for my next column when my gray tabby... Read More

Dad Fires Up His 'Range' Rover Jan. 22, 2020

The Word Guy

My 23-year-old daughter called me the other day to tell me that her landlord had provided a "new ove... Read More

Bristle While You Work Jan. 15, 2020

The Word Guy

One of the occupational hazards of writing a language column (other than introducing myself and havi... Read More

Blooper Patrol Finds Cash in the Cellar Jan. 08, 2020

The Word Guy

Members of the ever-vigilant Word Guy Blooper Patrol have sent me this latest collection of gaffes, ... Read More

Repartee in the Rathskeller? You Don't Say! Dec. 25, 2019

The Word Guy

Here's your chance to test your mastery of frequently mispronounced words. I'll even throw in some l... Read More

Experts Have Pronounced Differences Over 'Ukraine' Dec. 04, 2019

The Word Guy

Today, some random dispatches from the Word Front ... — Scratching Our U-craniums Recent test... Read More

Unleashing the Primal Word Guy Nov. 27, 2019

The Word Guy

Anyone who regularly reads this column knows that I'm an easygoing guy who customarily accepts and e... Read More

Walking in a Winter 'Worder'-land Nov. 20, 2019

The Word Guy

Put some words in your wassail and some punctuation in your punch this holiday season with one of th... Read More