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2018-02-20 22:35
Jim from Williamsburg, Michigan, came across the word crackerjack used as a positive term, as in, “that was a crackerjack of a movie.” He wanted to know more about the word.Meani… Read More
2018-02-12 23:09
Diane from Charlevoix asked if anyone still pronounces the first r in February. My observation is, not many people do.People tend to take the easy way out when pronouncing words like Februar… Read More
2018-02-01 17:42
Pete from Northport, Michigan, asked about the word hoodwink. It means to trick or deceive, and it has two components.Hood is the obvious segment. A hood is a covering for the head, and it t… Read More
2018-01-22 19:00
Tom from Maple City asked about the word flop. He was particularly interested in its multiple meanings.Let’s start a little sideways. Flop is onomatopoeia, meaning that the word was fo… Read More
2018-01-08 20:51
A recurrent theme that both amuses and confuses listeners to Words to the Wise is the existence of multiple meanings for words. Often, words spelled precisely the same in our day have totall… Read More
Heroine And Heroin
2017-12-27 15:46
Greg asked if there was a connection between heroin and heroine.  My immediate reaction was, that doesn’t sound likely. I was wrong.Traditionally, a heroine is a woman who perform… Read More
Pig Latin
2017-12-02 13:23
Tom from Bellaire asked who invented pig latin. The current version of pig latin involves moving the first letter or digraph of a word to the end of the word and adding –ay. “Fir… Read More
2017-11-20 13:16
Wally from Elk Rapids asked about a word that he hopes he never has to say out loud: tergiversation.It comes from the Latin tergum, the back, and vertere, to turn. Literally, the word means… Read More
Deprecate/Depreciate & Averse/Adverse
2017-11-03 19:32
Debbie from Elk Rapids called in two word pairs that can confuse a hasty reader. They are deprecate/depreciate and averse/adverse.At the core of the word deprecate is the Latin word for pray… Read More
2017-10-25 16:32
Tim from Old Mission Peninsula asked about the word fraught. It is often used in an ominous sense: fraught with danger or fraught with anxiety. On the other hand, a situation can be fraught… Read More

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