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The Word Detective

Are you a lexiophile? Do you love to learn new words? Are you the kind of person who can go to a dictionary to look something up, stumble across something else, and go off on rabbit trails, hopping from word to word?
If so, The Word Detective is the place for you. It’s one of my favorite sites, one I’ve been reading for the last ten years. Evan Morris, who writes a column about words for newspapers, puts all his lexical investigations online at the Word Detective.  Do you wonder about words like akimbo, flummox, tycoon and persnickety?  Do you want to know where phrases like “Goody Two-Shoes,” “push the envelope.” and “Katie, bar the door!” came from? If so, The Word Detective is the place for you. Evan Morris is fun to read, and once you start you won’t want to stop. He explains everything in the English language, from “soup to nuts.”
So “get off the dime,” because “the handwriting is on the wall.”  You will find that “the proof is in the pudding.” This website will never “jump the shark.”
Posted by Nancy, who is “mad as a hatter” for words and their meanings


  • Jody
    Posted June 6, 2011 10:23 am 0Likes

    I learned the history of two popular ones when I was in New Orleans. When touring a cemetery our tour guide told us that “saved by the bell” refers to the practice of tying a string attached to a bell to a presumed deceased person’s finger so that if they woke up buried in the coffin they would have a way to indicate they were still alive in there. ugh, *shivers*
    The other one was to “get shafted” referring to the practice of moving the remains of a deceased person in a shared tomb to the back of the tomb where they would fall down the shaft. You’re right, the history of words and phrases is so fascinating!

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