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Preview: The Word Guy - ArcaMax Publishing

The Word Guy - ArcaMax Publishing

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Copyright: Copyright 2017 ArcaMax Publishing

Dubbings of Derby Dobbins Mirror History


The triumph of Always Dreaming in this year's Kentucky Derby has spurred me to ponder the relevance of his name to our parlous political times. Does it evoke the undocumented children of immigrants known as "Dreamers"? President Donald Trump's ...

Quoting a (Long) Line from Shakespeare


Q: I am really bothered by the modern abbreviation "who's next," as in "May I help who's next?" I take it to be a shortened form of "May I help the person who is next in line?" Does this abbreviation bother you? Why or why not? -- Deborah ...

Which Origin is Pure Poppycock?


"Fake news." "Alternative facts." It's nothing new. Creative and colorful terms for tall tales, fishy fibs and deceptive distortions slither like con men through American lingo. The origins of some of these expressions are, appropriately enough...

Double Takes on the 'Read' Carpet


Are you sometimes confused by look-alike celebrities? Is that Carey Mulligan or Michelle Williams? Daniel Radcliffe or Elijah Wood? Danny DeVito or a walnut with arms? Similar confusion can occur when we encounter words that look alike and ...

Word Hawk Swoops in on 'Fell'


"One fell swoop." Most scholars believe it was William Shakespeare who first used this phrase, and he imbued it with the most negative meaning possible. In Shakespeare's "Macbeth," when Macduff learns that his wife and all his children have ...

'Unpack' Explodes Like An Overstuffed Suitcase


Remember when Americans hated to unpack? You know, dumping the suitcase on the bed, sorting dirty socks from clean socks, discovering that the bottle of mouthwash has leaked -- a depressing chore indeed. But not anymore. We're gleefully "...

Will 'Trumpcare' Flourish? It's Hard To Say


When President Barack Obama first proposed his health care plan in 2009, Republicans gleefully dubbed it "Obamacare," eager to drape what they hoped would be a disastrous program around his neck. Now the Democrats have turned the tables by ...

This Word's Meaning Is Terri'fickle'


Two months before the stock market collapse of 1929, the economist Roger Babson wrote, "[A] crash is coming and it's going to be terrific." Terrific? The Crash of '29 and the Great Depression that followed were certainly not good things. Did ...

Time for a 'Fulsome' Court Press


Oyez, Oyez! The Superior Court of Usage Trends in the United States (SCUTUS) is now in session. Case No. 1 -- Fulsome Meaning "Full" vs. Fulsome Meaning "Excessive" Plaintiff: While "fulsome" once meant "copious, generous," about 150 years ago...

The Warp and Woof of Words


The act of writing is often compared to weaving cloth. After all, both crafts involve blending linear elements -- lines of words and threads of fabric -- to produce useful and beautiful creations. So we "fabricate" stories, "spin" yarns and "...