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The Julian period
  日期:2007-06-30 03:58:49
  Word for the WiseAugust 04, 2006 Broadcast Topic: The Julian period Today we mark the 1540 birth of Joseph Justus Scaliger, the French scholar honored as the founder of scientific chronology. In 1583, at the age of 43, during the middle of the Gregor
Mata Hari
  日期:2007-06-30 03:57:57
  Word for the WiseAugust 07, 2006 Broadcast Topic: Mata Hari Today we remember Mata Hari, who was born on this date in 1876. Her story is well-known: she was a Dutch citizen (nee Margaretha Zelle) who moved to Paris in 1905 after her marriage ended. T
Slander vs. libel
  日期:2007-06-30 03:56:57
  Word for the WiseAugust 08, 2006 Broadcast Topic: Slander vs. libel Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings was born on this date in 1896. Trained as a journalist, Rawlings spent much of her life in rural Florida, and she earned lasting fame (and a Pulitzer) for he
Galaxy and myriad
  日期:2007-06-30 03:56:05
  Word for the WiseAugust 09, 2006 Broadcast Topic: Galaxy and myriad The Perseid Meteor Showers begin their most impressive period of falling tonight. We're milking the heavenly comings and goings with a look at the words galaxy and myriad . Galaxy re
Homage
  日期:2007-06-30 03:54:59
  Word for the WiseAugust 10, 2006 Broadcast Topic: Homage Back in feudal days, in exchange for a fief, such as a tenancy of land, and for his protection, a man would formally and publicly acknowledge himself the vassal of his lord. The vassal would so
Female cuckold
  日期:2007-06-30 03:53:55
  Word for the WiseAugust 11, 2006 Broadcast Topic: Female cuckold We ended a program on cuckold by inviting theories on why our English lexicon contains a term for a husband whose wife cheats on him but does not contain a comparable term for a wife wh
Third rail
  日期:2007-06-30 03:52:49
  Word for the WiseAugust 14, 2006 Broadcast Topic: Third rail Back on this date in 1935, Congress authorized the Social Security Act and appropriated slightly less than $25 million for its first year of operation. Seventy-one years later, the Social S
Sheets and sails
  日期:2007-06-30 03:51:29
  Word for the WiseAugust 16, 2006 Broadcast Topic: Sheets and sails When mariner types start telling tales, the fish seem to get bigger and the truth quotient seems to get smaller. So we weren't surprised when we heard from a fellow trying to ascertai
Toady, fawn, and truckle
  日期:2007-06-30 03:50:10
  Word for the WiseAugust 18, 2006 Broadcast Topic: Toady, fawn, and truckle Today we look at three words one never wants to hear used of oneself: toady, fawn , and truckle . Way back when, fawn (which comes from an Old English word meaning glad) was u
Nickname-based terms
  日期:2007-06-30 03:48:56
  Word for the WiseAugust 21, 2006 Broadcast Topic: Nickname-based terms A woman who shall remain nameless asked us to investigate a number of nicknames in various idiomatic expressions. Honest to Pete, we were surprised at the number of terms we found
Malafide and bona fide
  日期:2007-06-30 03:47:46
  Word for the WiseAugust 22, 2006 Broadcast Topic: Malafide and bona fide A listener took it on faith we could answer this question: why is it we say mal-uh-FYE-dee but boh-nuh-FYDE? Well, for starters, some people say mal-uh-FYE-dee, some say
Terms for knives
  日期:2007-06-30 03:46:45
  Word for the WiseAugust 23, 2006 Broadcast Topic: Terms for knives Picture this: a churchgoer wearing stilettos finds relief for her aching feet thanks to the misericord on her church seat, only to have Dirk, a fellow-worshipper, look daggers at her.
Using big words
  日期:2007-06-30 03:45:33
  Word for the WiseAugust 24, 2006 Broadcast Topic: Using big words A listener asked for the term for a person who uses large words when smaller ones would do. Much to our delight, we were unable to find a term naming such a person (that is, with the e
Alphabetic phonetic codes
  日期:2007-06-30 03:44:21
  Word for the WiseAugust 25, 2006 Broadcast Topic: Alphabetic phonetic codes It's one thing to accept that our alphabet has undergone changes over the centuries, but for some reason we were startled to realize that alphabetic phonetic codescodes that
Moonraker
  日期:2007-06-30 03:42:57
  Word for the WiseAugust 28, 2006 Broadcast Topic: Moonraker Often, when we mention the etymology of a particular term is unknown, we hear from folks eager to pass along their theories (or the stories they've been told) about how a term came into bein
Newfoundland
  日期:2007-06-30 03:41:40
  Word for the WiseAugust 29, 2006 Broadcast Topic: Newfoundland An alert listener noted (with disapproval) our pronunciation NOO-fun-lund [for Newfoundland ]. We were dumbfounded to learn our pronunciation was, in fact, all wet. Canadians, it seems,
Match
  日期:2007-06-30 03:40:44
  Word for the WiseAugust 30, 2006 Broadcast Topic: Match A pair of restaurant owners whose bistro has been described as matchless asked us to peer into the many meanings of match in our lexicon. Match can name a marriage or a pair suitably associated;
Precarious and caries
  日期:2007-06-30 03:39:29
  Word for the WiseAugust 31, 2006 Broadcast Topic: Precarious and caries People worried about tooth decay, cavities, or caries, might consider themselves in a precarious position. That is to say, they might envision their circumstances as uncertain, a
Dog days of summer
  日期:2007-06-30 03:38:20
  Word for the WiseJuly 03, 2006 Broadcast Topic: Dog days of summer The Northern Hemisphere officially welcomesor greets, anywaythe dog days of summer today. This period of hot sultry weather is heralded by the heliacal rising of a certain star, that
An American dictionary
  日期:2007-06-30 03:36:56
  Word for the WiseJuly 04, 2006 Broadcast Topic: An American dictionary Happy Birthday, America! This fourth of July we're celebrating the independence of our American language by marking this year's bicentennial anniversary of Noah Webster's A Compen
Behind the bikini
  日期:2007-06-30 03:35:38
  Word for the WiseJuly 05, 2006 Broadcast Topic: Behind the bikini We've come to accept that time may or may not be on the side of the Rolling Stones, that The Who's generation may not all die before they get old, and that the remaining Beatles may we
Dilation and dilatation
  日期:2007-06-30 03:34:30
  Word for the WiseJuly 06, 2006 Broadcast Topic: Dilation and dilatation A question from a former nursing student made our blood run cold and our heart constrict. Why, she wanted to know, does our lexicon contain the words dilation and dilatation ? Ho
Cameo
  日期:2007-06-30 03:33:18
  Word for the WiseJuly 07, 2006 Broadcast Topic: Cameo A woman working on a book blurb approached us about the story behind the term cameo appearance. We wish she'd asked instead about blurb ; we can easily pin that term for a short publicity notice o
Words from Marcel Proust
  日期:2007-06-30 03:32:15
  Word for the WiseJuly 10, 2006 Broadcast Topic: Words from Marcel Proust Marcel Proust was born on this date in 1871. An aesthete, in ill health, and a dilettante for much of his life, Proust gave literature the classic Remembrance of Things Past a 3
Bowdlerize
  日期:2007-06-30 03:30:54
  Word for the WiseJuly 11, 2006 Broadcast Topic: Bowdlerize Today we mark the 1754 birth of a man who was a superb chess player, earned a medical degree (but didn't practice medicine), devoted much of his life to prison reform, and leftas a legacyhis
Trivia and trivial
  日期:2007-06-30 03:29:37
  Word for the WiseJuly 12, 2006 Broadcast Topic: Trivia and trivial A person might think that whatever underlay the words trivia and trivial couldn't have been too important. Such a person might want to think again. Trivia and trivial have ancestors i
Cuckold
  日期:2007-06-30 03:28:12
  Word for the WiseJuly 13, 2006 Broadcast Topic: Cuckold We have no desire to get involved in the politics of etymology; that is, to analyze why our language does or does not include a particular term. Nonetheless, we find ourselves on the horns of a
Words from 1789
  日期:2007-06-30 03:26:46
  Word for the WiseJuly 14, 2006 Broadcast Topic: Words from 1789 Happy Bastille Day! Today we mark the fall of the Bastille prison on this date in 1789 with a look at French (and linguistic) history. The word cahier first appeared in English in 1789.
Elbridge Gerry and gerrymander
  日期:2007-06-30 03:25:30
  Word for the WiseJuly 17, 2006 Broadcast Topic: Elbridge Gerry and gerrymander Today we remember Elbridge Gerry, born on this date in 1744. One of our country's founding fathers, Gerry signed the Declaration of Independence and refused to sign the Co
Words from William Thackeray
  日期:2007-06-30 03:24:29
  Word for the WiseJuly 18, 2006 Broadcast Topic: Words from William Thackeray Today we remember William Makepeace Thackeray, born on this date in 1811. Thackeray fought (and eventually made peace with) onetime rival Charles Dickens, but today we come
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