Search us!

Search The Word Detective and our family of websites:

This is the easiest way to find a column on a particular word or phrase.

To search for a specific phrase, put it between quotation marks.






Comments are closed.

Unfortunately, new comments on posts on this site have been suspended because of my illness.

Previously approved comments will remain visible.

I deeply appreciate the erudition and energy of our commenters. Your contributions to this site have been invaluable. But I can no longer devote the time necessary to separate good comments from the hundreds of spam comments submitted.

Because Wordpress weirdly doesn't allow me to simply turn off comments en masse, comment boxes will still appear at the foot of posts.



shameless pleading

My back pages

[Booklover’s Guide to the Internet] – C-SPAN Video Library.

Fending off psychos and paranoid cranks in the Village while I explain the internet, 1996.  The apex of my chubby and inarticulate period.  My very first public appearance and I was petrified.  Fortunately, they paid me 25 cents every time I said “Uh” or “Um.”


p.s.  “Words, Wit and Wisdom,” mentioned at the start of the video, was the title of this column when my parents wrote it. I didn’t change the name to “The Word Detective” until 1997.

Leave a Reply




You can use these HTML tags

<a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>

Please support
The Word Detective

(and see each issue
much sooner)

by Subscribing.


Follow us on Twitter!




New! You have questions? How Come? has the answers!

400+ pages of science questions answered and explained for kids -- and adults!