interesting things to learn about words

  • swear originally meant 'take an oath'
  • to be belly-pinched is to be starved and hungry
  • the adjective form for buzzard is buteonine
  • neither noon nor midnight is 12 AM or 12 PM because neither comes before or after the moment the sun is on the meridian
  • humdudgeon is imaginary pain or illness
  • in media res (1786) is Latin meaning 'in the midst of things'
  • in a book, the inner margins by the fold is the gutter

buy the book! Interesting Things to Learn About Words is a collection of a-really-interesting-thing-you-probably-do-not-know about 20,000 words and phrases. The tidbits include word history and etymology, unusual or lost or uncommon words, grammar instruction and usage, word trivia, differences between confusable words, and how words are formed.