9 10 11 12 13 Displaying 71-77 of 196 Articles

In two recent articles, The New York Times has reported on culture wars involving "hipsters": locals in the Long Island town of Montauk are suffering from "hipster fatigue," while in Park Slope, Brooklyn, the hipsters are battling with new parents and their babies. All of this raises the question: where did the term hipster come from? Does it have something to do with hippies? And what about the even older term, hepcat?  Continue reading...
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What does a Hanseatic city have to do with America's most popular sandwich? How is the city of Mozart related to a ballpark favorite? And how did the names of these cities end up as common and productive English words? It's all because of Americans' love for an ethnic food that's so much a part of our diet that we might not even realize it's ethnic: namely, German cuisine.  Continue reading...
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"The whole nine yards," meaning "the full extent of something," remains one of the most puzzling idioms for word-watchers. Everyone seems to have their own explanation for where the expression comes from, and yet there is still no definitive origin story for it. This is surprising for a phrase that's not terribly old: scattered uses can be found from the 1960s, and now it's been pushed back a bit earlier, to 1956.  Continue reading...
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Max Crittenden writes: "I'm seeing some peculiar usage (misuse, to my mind) of the phrase 'out of pocket.' 'My housekeeper has injured her leg and will be out of pocket for a while.' 'Sorry, I've been out of pocket and haven't gotten to your request." Is anyone else noticing this? To me, 'out of pocket' means only 'short of money.'"  Continue reading...

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We welcome back James Harbeck for another installment of his "Word Tasting Notes." This time he mulls over a fanciful word that combines "floor" and "wardrobe" into a new droll creation: "floordrobe."  Continue reading...
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"Jamie Dimon: JPMorgan Will Likely Claw Back Pay From Responsible Executives," the headline said. Dimon, JPMorgan's chief executive, was telling the Senate Banking Committee that the firm would probably seek to reclaim some pay and bonuses from those involved in the firm's $2 billion trading loss.  Continue reading...
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Hot dogs, fireworks, pie-eating contests... the Fourth of July is the same all around the United States, right? Not quite: some Independence Day traditions are more localized. Take "the parade of horribles," a peculiar procession that you can find in various New England shore towns. Even more peculiarly, "the parade of horribles" has become a legal metaphor, one that made an appearance in the Supreme Court's healthcare ruling last week.  Continue reading...
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9 10 11 12 13 Displaying 71-77 of 196 Articles