Tag Archives: origin

What is a demagogue?

Demagogue is a word which saw increased use during the recent presidential campaign (although it wasn’t used nearly enough in my opinion). It’s one of those political words that you can count on to be thrown around in just about … Continue reading

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Indian summer: what and when is it?

We’re not experiencing it yet where I live (outside of Boston), but it’s that time of year when people start talking about “Indian summer.” I’ve seen a few references to this seasonal quirk lately (including one in something I was … Continue reading

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That Origin of Bogus? It’s Probably Bogus.

I’m old enough to remember when the word “bogus” was at the fringe of colloquial English, a slang term that few respectable people would consider using. Of course, it shouldered its way into the circle around the campfire of “acceptable … Continue reading

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If your eyes are on the ground, where did you put your boots?

I keep a very long list of potential topics for this blog. It tracks unusual words and phrases, odd or incorrect usages, new coinages and definitions, as well as all sorts of things that I happen to find interesting at … Continue reading

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Why Gorillas, Elephants, and Skeletons Don’t Mix (or, Keeping your metaphors clear)

Here’s one for the occasional series on bad mixed metaphors: Gregory Jaffe, with the Washington-based consumer group the Center for Science in the Public Interest, calls Monsanto “the gorilla in the closet. They are this technology’s and this industry’s spokesperson.” … Continue reading

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