Archive for New-to-me Words


Note: Arachnophobic people may want to skip this post. The Wikipedia article about note-taking uses the word spidergram. It turns out that spidergrams are better known as spider diagrams, and that in the context of note-taking, that basically means mind-mapping, which I was previously familiar with. But I’m posting about the word spidergram for three […]


Encountered a new-to-me snack food yesterday: Peatos. I was initially startled, because I felt like the world is not yet ready for a peat-based snack food. Turns out that the idea is that it’s a Cheetos-like snack made with peas instead of corn.

French tips

In the 2018 version of A Star Is Born, someone at a drag bar refers to French tips, and I had no idea what they meant. Turns out it’s a style of manicure involving two colors of nail polish, one for the nail bed and the other for the tip of the nail.


According to Wikipedia’s article on King Arthur: “The familiar literary persona of Arthur began with Geoffrey of Monmouth’s pseudo-historical Historia Regum Britanniae (History of the Kings of Britain), written in the 1130s. The textual sources for [the legend of] Arthur are usually divided into those written before Geoffrey's Historia (known as pre-Galfridian texts, from the […]

loxodrome, rhumb line

According to Wikipedia: In navigation, a rhumb line, rhumb, or loxodrome is an arc crossing all meridians of longitude at the same angle, that is, a path with constant bearing as measured relative to true or magnetic north. For pretty and interesting pictures showing examples, follow the link. I think I’ve seen rhumb lines on […]

Eshoo question

A metaphor I was amused by: “The $64,000 question is: How do we put socks on this octopus?” —Congresswoman Anna Eshoo, in a telephone town hall this evening. (A quick web search suggests that the socks/octopus thing is a relatively common phrase, but I hadn’t heard it before.)

somehow or rather

I recently came across the phrase somehow or rather. I initially assumed that it was a typo for somehow or other, but I got curious and did a web search and found that lots of people have used the phrase online. I assume that it’s an eggcorn, but if so, it seems to be a […]