Terms and phrases
Feb 28, 2013 — From "dead cat bounce," which originated in the 1980s, to "cold fish," which was coined by Shakespeare, The American Heritage Dictionary of Idioms explores the origins of more than 10,000 nonliteral sayings.
Jan 15, 2013 — In Words From the White House, linguist Paul Dickson looks at the ways presidents have used the office to create and shape American language. Presidents, Dickson says, must be eloquent and spontaneous, but they also need to communicate in a way that gives listeners something to latch onto.
Jul 7, 2011 — Further versus farther, compliment versus complement, affect versus effect — the ever-complex, often-irregular English language is full of traps and pitfalls. But don't despair! Grammar Girl's 101 Misused Words You'll Never Confuse Again is a gentle guide to proper usage.
Dec 22, 2010 — In Begat, David Crystal sets out to prove that the King James Bible has contributed more to the English language than any other literary source. If you've ever "fought the good fight" or chuckled at "what comes out of the mouths of babes," you just might agree with him.
Mar 10, 2009 — When Ralph Keyes, author of I Love It When You Talk Retro, heard Neal Conan and a guest joking about a reference to Captain Kirk and whether anyone understood it anymore, he emailed TOTN. He knows what's behind all kinds of "retroterms," from cootie to scuttlebutt.
Feb 9, 2008 — Author Philip Dodd traveled the world to find out how common words like guppy, saxophone and even the Mercedes got their names. The stories he uncovered in The Reverend Guppy's Aquarium are fascinating, funny and sometimes tragic.