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We deeply appreciate the erudition and energy of our commenters. Your comments frequently make an invaluable contribution to the story of words and phrases in everyday usage over many years.

Please note that comments are moderated, and will sometimes take a few days to appear.

 

 

shameless pleading

 

 

 

 

Please help support The Word Detective!

Note: The Word Detective has suspended regular monthly publication on the web and via email due to the reasons originally explained in this post from 2016. But while we’re not accepting subscriptions, please read on for why we still need your support.

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For more than 20 years (!), The Word Detective has been a free online resource for writers, etymology buffs, language fans and literally millions of curious visitors. Now we’re facing a serious crisis and we need your help, to both keep TWD online and to keep the feline horde in mass quantities of basic food–and a staggering 240 lb. of kitty litter a month–not to mention (especially to the cats) visits to the vet.

Unfortunately, The Word Detective’s small ad revenue doesn’t even cover the site’s monthly hosting fees, let alone cat food and utility bills.

So if you enjoy browsing the more than 1,500 columns on this site, or you have word and phrase questions you’d like answered, please contribute to The Word Detective if you can. Even just $5 makes a real difference.

(Note:  Any old PayPal buttons or links you click on elsewhere on the site will result in a refund of your contribution, since they link to the old Paypal account. Please follow the instructions below instead. And thank you!)

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What-the-Heck One-time Contribution (of any amount).

To send a one-time donation, just log in at PayPal.com, click on the “send” button on the right, and in the “send to” field, type or copy/paste: kwollard@word-detective.com. Follow the next steps to make a contribution. This is the simplest way to send a donation of any amount. And thank you!

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You can also contribute by check made out to Kathy Wollard (not to “The Word Detective”), sent to

P.O. Box 1, Millersport, Ohio 43046.

PLEASE BE SURE TO PUT YOUR E-MAIL ADDRESS ON THE CHECK!

 

Thank you for your patience and support.

 

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Makes a great gift! Click cover for more.

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

FROM ALTOIDS TO ZIMA, by Evan Morris