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And Now for Some Literary 'Critter'cism Aug. 12, 2020

The Word Guy

Edith Frankel of Hannawa Falls, New York, sent me this sentence from Science News: "An array of crit... Read More

Will You 'Cotton' to These Word Origins? Jun. 24, 2020

The Word Guy

"I don't cotton to that idea," a friend said the other day. The idea he wasn't "cottoning to" was my... Read More

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

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

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

Political Potshots Have Always Packed Punch Dec. 05, 2018

The Word Guy

If you think today's political insults are nasty, consider these mud bombs hurled at Presidents Ulys... Read More

Good Folks Peppered With Salty Language Nov. 28, 2018

The Word Guy

Q. Why do we call virtuous people "the salt of the earth?" — John S., West Hartford, Connectic... 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

Linguistic Disputes Can Pack a Punch Nov. 14, 2018

The Word Guy

Heated controversies over proper usage can lead to food fights at faculty clubs and fisticuffs on co... 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

The Silly Debate About Socialism Sep. 06, 2018

Froma Harrop

What's with all this socialism business? A handful of lefty candidates are calling themselves social... Read More

Dealing With a Screaming Child Aug. 28, 2018

Dear AnnieĀ®

Dear Annie: I was recently shopping in a department store, when I heard the very loud screams of a c... Read More

Rush-SHA, Rush-SHA, Rush-SHA Mar. 15, 2017

Connie Schultz

Every day, another onslaught of crazy out of this administration. Pick a day. Any day. Wednesday, le... Read More

Why the Cuban Missile Crisis Matters Today Mar. 11, 2017

Mark Shields

Gen. Charles de Gaulle, a French hero and statesman who did not lack for self-esteem, once stated, "... Read More


Jul. 22, 2014