Category Archives: etymology

Is This Trio of Words the Longest English Homonym?

These word pairs (and one trio) are identical, but not twins or triplets. Like the mythical doppelgangers, they were born at different times and places. Continue reading“Periwinkle 3” by Mokkie http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Periwinkle_3.jpg#mediaviewer/File:Periwinkle_3.jpg “Littorina littorea 02” by H. Zell – http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Littorina_littorea_02.JPG#mediaviewer/File:Littorina_littorea_02.JPG Rosalba … Continue reading

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Extra Lex: 14 Food and Beverage Words with Arabic Origins

An  alcoholic’s first nip of the morning may be called an “eye opener,” but who would have thought that the word “alcohol” derived from a term related to eyeliner?  Get the scoop here: http://shar.es/N9myH

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Lexie and Election Electricity

“Does that answer your question, ma’am?” Ms. Khan said into her phone. I hadn’t realized she had me on speaker. She looked down at the phone. Apparently Mrs. Big was responding by text. “Thanks, Ms. Kahn. My employer says she … Continue reading

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Extra Lex: Debunking Myths about Phrase Origins

A widely-circulated email called “Little History Lesson” gets the history of phrases like “big wig,” “to cost an arm and a leg” and “mind your own beeswax” all wrong. Here are the true stories from Mental Floss.  

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Spring Bounces In

I didn’t see her slip in — the tall, wavy-haired figure silhouetted in front of me. “Afternoon, Ms. Kahn,” she said. “And to you, Ms. Khan.” It was Amira Khan, the anonymous Boss Lady’s go-fer. Things were looking up. “Mrs. … Continue reading

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Extra Lex: “Life in the 1500s” Phrase Origins Hoax

While Lexie waits for the return of the novel novelist, check out these articles from Mental Floss debunking a popular email with fake origin stories for many expressions: http://mentalfloss.com/article/55503/7-tall-tales-about-life-1500s-and-origins-phrases http://mentalfloss.com/article/55688/6-widely-repeated-phrase-origins-debunked

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A Novel That’s a Real Novelty

I was hunched in my windowless corner office nursing a double. I was dry as an unirrigated field in California’s 500-year drought. Maybe the last gully-washer knocked a few years off the rating, but I was in a dry state, … Continue reading

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