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Making bones
  日期:2007-06-30 19:48:00
  Word for the WiseMay 03, 2007 Broadcast Topic: Making bones We're guessing that only someone with a bone to pick would challenge us to explain why the idiomatic making bones is more familiar in its negative form making no bones about somethingthan in
I ching
  日期:2007-06-30 19:46:18
  Word for the WiseMay 04, 2007 Broadcast Topic: I ching A question about the origin of the I ching left us groping to divine the truth behind (and within) that classic book of Chinese cosmology known variously as the Book of changes and Classic of cha
Beaufort's scale
  日期:2007-06-30 19:44:49
  Word for the WiseMay 07, 2007 Broadcast Topic: Beaufort's scale Today we take our measurea whirlwind measureof Beaufort Scale Day. Historians may know the day falls on the birth anniversary of Sir Francis Beaufort in 1774; meteorologists and seafarin
Antoine Laurent Lavoisier & National Teacher Day
  日期:2007-06-30 19:43:15
  Word for the WiseMay 08, 2007 Broadcast Topic: Antoine Laurent Lavoisier quot;We need no more scientists in France, while mathematician Joseph-Louis Lagrange mourned his friend with these words: it took them only an instant to cut off that head, and
Room and board
  日期:2007-06-30 19:38:40
  Word for the WiseMay 10, 2007 Broadcast Topic: Room and board It's not much of a reach to combine a question about the phrase room and board with an inquiry about the term boardinghouse reach. So pardon us while we serve up a few answersfamily stylef
Coarse, vulgar, and obscene
  日期:2007-06-30 19:37:02
  Word for the WiseMay 11, 2007 Broadcast Topic: Coarse, vulgar, and obscene Today we try our darnedest to offend good taste and/or morals. Don't worry about alerting the FCC; we promise to confine our offenses to discussing what is offensive, not to t
Variolation & vaccination
  日期:2007-06-30 19:35:33
  Word for the WiseMay 14, 2007 Broadcast Topic: Variolation quot;pox) less than successful. It was Doctor Edward Jenner's genius to scientifically satisfy his suspicion (and observation) that humans who contracted the much less dangerous cowpox gained
Stewardess
  日期:2007-06-30 19:33:51
  Word for the WiseMay 15, 2007 Broadcast Topic: Stewardess Back on this date in 1930, a 25 year old registered nurse and licensed pilot began her new job as the first ever female flight attendant. Ellen Church was then known as a stewardess, one of th
Bluestocking
  日期:2007-06-30 19:32:28
  Word for the WiseMay 16, 2007 Broadcast Topic: Bluestocking We recently tried to help a correspondent puzzle out why she might have associated (incorrectly, as it turns out) the word maven with being female-specific. We offered plenty of speculation
Apology & apologia
  日期:2007-06-30 19:30:34
  Word for the WiseMay 17, 2007 Broadcast Topic: Apology mdash;it is April 12th, not, as we said, April 11threminded us of how very sweet a good apology can be. So we'll begin by saying: sorry; it was a simple error that we certainly should have caught
Terms of museology
  日期:2007-06-30 19:28:47
  Word for the WiseMay 18, 2007 Broadcast Topic: Terms of museology This International Museum Day, we find ourselves musing about one of our favorite terms of museology. Museology, of course, refers to the science or profession of museum organization,
Bloodletting
  日期:2007-06-30 19:26:45
  Word for the WiseMay 21, 2007 Broadcast Topic: Bloodletting We hope you'll humor us as we mark the 1881 founding of the American Red Cross with a sanguine look at bloodletting. We used sanguine in its sense meaning self-confident, but sanguine from t
The dog that didn't bark
  日期:2007-06-30 19:24:56
  Word for the WiseMay 22, 2007 Broadcast Topic: The dog that didn't bark Sir Arthur Conan Doyle was born on this date in 1859. Had there been no real-life writer named Conan Doyle, there would have been no fictional detective Sherlock Holmes. What wou
Carl Linnaeus
  日期:2007-06-30 19:23:06
  Word for the WiseMay 23, 2007 Broadcast Topic: Carl Linnaeus 300 years ago today (according to our present-day calendar) Carl Linnaeus was born. The great botanistwho is remembered as both a father of modern ecology and as the father of modern taxono
Fodder
  日期:2007-06-30 19:21:24
  Word for the WiseMay 24, 2007 Broadcast Topic: Fodder Questions like 'what's the story behind fodder ?' are so much grist for our word mill. That reflection reminds us that grist and fodder have a lot in common: among the oldest words in our lexicon,
Fodder and grist
  日期:2007-06-30 19:19:36
  Word for the WiseMay 25, 2007 Broadcast Topic: Fodder and grist We recently did our best to whet linguistic appetites by comparing the words fodder and grist : we pointed out, among other things, that both words claim Old English ancestry, where they
zoologist, glaciologist, geologist, and ichthyologist
  日期:2007-06-30 19:17:54
  Word for the WiseMay 28, 2007 Broadcast Topic: zoologist, glaciologist, geologist, and ichthyologist Today we mark the bicentennial of the birth of Jean Louis Rodolphe Agassiz, one of the premier scientists of his day. Although today he is celebrated
Two heroes of American history
  日期:2007-06-30 19:16:22
  Word for the WiseMay 29, 2007 Broadcast Topic: Two heroes of American history Two heroes of American history share a May 29th birthday, 181 years apart. Both were considered persuasive public speakers, and both men were political creatures. And both
The proof is in the pudding
  日期:2007-06-30 19:14:23
  Word for the WiseMay 30, 2007 Broadcast Topic: The proof is in the pudding We were asked to revisit the somewhat puzzling phrase the proof is in the pudding, and we are happy to dish on the old proverb. The last time we tackled this problem, we had r
Blue moon
  日期:2007-06-30 19:12:33
  Word for the WiseMay 31, 2007 Broadcast Topic: Blue moon Tonight's full moon is commonly referred to as a blue moon the second full moon, according to popular belief, to rise in a calendar month. Although folks have been keeping track of the moon's p
Casanova, Romeo, Don Juan, and Lothario
  日期:2007-06-30 19:10:51
  Word for the WiseApril 02, 2007 Broadcast Topic: Casanova, Romeo, Don Juan, and Lothario Giovanni Giacomo Casanova was born on this date in 1725. Casanova studied for the priesthood, was convicted by the Inquisition of practicing witchcraft, and trav
Knickerbocker
  日期:2007-06-30 19:09:05
  Word for the WiseApril 03, 2007 Broadcast Topic: Knickerbocker Todayin a roundabout sort of waywe mark the 1783 birth anniversary of Washington Irving. The purported author of History of New Yorkfrom the beginning of the world to the end of the Dutch
Big Brother
  日期:2007-06-30 19:07:17
  Word for the WiseApril 04, 2007 Broadcast Topic: Big Brother It was 23 years ago today, according to George Orwell, that Winston Smith wrote in his diary Down with Big Brother! George Orwell was a pen name; Winston Smith was a fictional character, an
Quoit
  日期:2007-06-30 19:05:44
  Word for the WiseApril 06, 2007 Broadcast Topic: Quoit A question about the origin of the word quoit threw us for a loop. That's not because we couldn't find the linguistic ancestor of quoit or, as it's sometimes pronounced, /koit/. That 15th century
Winston Churchill
  日期:2007-06-30 18:20:53
  Word for the WiseApril 09, 2007 Broadcast Topic: Winston Churchill Back on this date in 1963, British statesman Winston Churchill became the first person to be granted honorary U.S. citizenship. Churchill didn't have much time to enjoy any benefits t
Maven
  日期:2007-06-30 18:19:24
  Word for the WiseApril 10, 2007 Broadcast Topic: Maven Why would someone think maven is gender specific, applied to women, not men? It's a fair enough question, but one we're ill-equipped to answer, since we've never thought of maven meaning expert;
Licorice
  日期:2007-06-30 18:18:00
  Word for the WiseApril 11, 2007 Broadcast Topic: Licorice We don't know why this date was selectedperhaps because of the resemblance of the number 11 to two sticks of licoricebut today is National Licorice Day. We begin our celebration of that treat
Sent to Coventry
  日期:2007-06-30 18:16:19
  Word for the WiseApril 12, 2007 Broadcast Topic: Sent to Coventry You've got to admire the plucky British city of Coventry. Coventry's earliest claim to notoriety dates back to the 11th century, when Lady Godiva was said to have ridden naked through
Alfred Mosher Butts
  日期:2007-06-30 18:14:36
  Word for the WiseApril 13, 2007 Broadcast Topic: Alfred Mosher Butts Today we celebrate one Alfred Mosher Butts, born on this day in 1899. Gameplaying word lovers may not need us to spell out his valuable legacy: Butts was the fellow whose love of th
Asteroid
  日期:2007-06-30 18:12:47
  Word for the WiseApril 16, 2007 Broadcast Topic: Asteroid National Astronomy Week finds us safely at home, hoping not only to avoid one of the killer asteroids in the news lately but also to avert any other disastrous events that might be in the star
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