Category Archives: words

A London shop window, next to or a part of Gordon Gridley’s Antiques, Islington High Street

  “Here lies the victim of untied shoe laces.”   Todd and I were in London briefly in October. I’m ever surprised by English English. A recording repeated that our city bus was “on diversion.” In the States we’d say … Continue reading

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Humor in a flute: the difficulty of defining “flute” or “fluted” for someone new to the English language

On a recent stay with a friend who teaches at the University of Arizona, she told Todd and me that a foreign visitor to the university who was mastering English quite nicely asked what “fluted” meant. My friend and her … Continue reading

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Gainsay, meaning “to speak against,” a word encountered in Mary Roberts Rinehart’s 1914 mystery, The After House: when and why do we stop using words?

“I think that if she had chosen to say that I had wielded the murderer’s ax on the Ella, I should have gone to the gallows rather than gainsay her.”–from The After House. According to, most dictionaries consider “gainsay”–meaning “to … Continue reading

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Backseat of the new 1956 Plymouth…”with wide doors that never snag frocks.”

But we don’t use the word “frock” any longer, right? I found this ad in the book, Ads That Put America on Wheels. I was 8 in 1956, and I don’t remember my mom or sisters talking about their “frocks” but … Continue reading

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