Spiel on spill

"Is it now accepted that people will use 'spill' for 'spiel'? It drives me batty, but I feel like I'm fighting a losing battle, as 'spill' kinda makes sense in that a bunch of words have got to 'spill' out of your mouth ..."

Accolades are for knights

"As a former film student, I hold an extremely high level of respect and admiration for Ebert's accolades and I can only dream of replicating the amount of success he achieved."

By hook or by ...

In modern crime slang, a hooker is "a prostitute." But in Shakespeare's day, according to Bill Bryson in "Shakespeare: The World as Stage," a hooker was one who snatched desirables through open windows with hooks.

Mysterious Ohio

"Froholdt, 6-5, 275 pounds, is making his first trip back to the United States from Denmark after playing his sophomore season at Warren (Ohio) Harding High School as an exchange student."

-izations of a nation

Harold Meyerson writes in The American Prospect that the economy has been so bad for so long ("The Forty-Year Slump") even the language has been affected. "The middle-income jobs of the nation's postwar boom years have disproportionately vanished.


"Mary Torious — businessman and widow of N.O. Torious Trucking Line's founder — moved 38 spots higher on the list released Monday."

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"The folly of studying, say, English lit has become something of an Internet cliche — the stuff of sneering 'Worst Majors' listicles that seem always to be sponsored by personal-finance websites."

Going copless

I was unfamiliar with cop the way the reviewer used it in a British newspaper. A dictionary of British slang says that cop can mean "worth, value." I gather it's most often used in negative constructions, as the reviewer did.

Executive action

"I'm a longtime supporter of Governor Beebe, but I must say I was disappointed when I saw in the paper 'Beebe lashes Martin, says hiring illegal.' Heaven knows the secretary of state can be annoying, and I wouldn't have minded 'Beebe pinches Martin,' or maybe even 'Beebe coldcocks Martin.' But lashing is just too extreme."

Not there

In our Aug. 8 discussion of the phrase "out of pocket," we quoted various sources as saying that it properly means "out of funds," but that "Somehow over the past year or so, 'out of pocket' has become a new business catchphrase meaning 'unreachable, out of communication,' which is incorrect."

Run, rarebit

A food columnist's reference to "Welsh rarebit" did not go down well with Stanley Johnson, who notes that the original term was "Welsh rabbit," an English coinage poking fun at the Welsh.


John Wesley Hall noticed the slogan displayed on The Hatcher Agency building in downtown Little Rock: "The Home of Outrageous Service." Hall writes: "Crimes are outrageous. Things the government does are outrageous. What the hell is outrageous service? Is it really that bad? If so, why brag?"

Cleanliness important

"Mariah White says it takes about an hour of milking between the two cows to produce their combined 10 to 11 gallons a day. That doesn't include the time they spend cleaning the cows' utters and sterilizing milk jugs."

Matter of fact

"In today's Times [July 25] we find that a federal court ruling in Ohio 'deals directly with a fact circumstance identical to Arkansas ... ' Leaving aside the fact that whatever that thing was it wasn't identical to Arkansas (I reckon an apostrophe got dropped) what jarred me was 'fact circumstance.'

Me or my

An Arkansas Times editorial said "Regardless of your personal belief, I would hope that you shutting up about your personal belief and letting me decide these things is something we can all agree to." Richard W. Chapman finds fault.

Hostile overtake

"They were sued with the reasoning that they were negligent, allowing terrorists to board airplanes and overtake their crews before plunging the planes into the trade center complex. ..."

Over and out

"Have you noticed recently the use of the phrase 'run him over,' which I believe is a misuse of 'run over him'? I've heard it on the television news, and read it in the paper."

Stick to the point

"Beamish said he has read some of the message-board comments from fans questioning his ability. 'They'd say, who is he? Is he that good? I've never heard of him before.' At one point and time I wanted people to know that's Horace Beamish and he makes plays."

Racked up

"It can be nerve-racking at times, thinking in your head 'I've got to perform at my highest level, this is my one chance.' "...

If spurned, throw the gauntlet

"The sky over Stuttgart was ominous Monday with what appeared to be a tornado, but it was something different. What was seen was a tropical-air funnel. The National Weather Service says these are very similar to what forms water spouts over the Gulf of Mexico."