Pandora’s jar

About Pandora’s box, Wikipedia says: The word translated as box was actually a large jar (πίθος pithos) in Greek. […] Many scholars see a close analogy between Pandora herself, who was made from clay, and the clay jar which dispenses evils. The mistranslation of pithos is usually attributed to the 16th century humanist Erasmus who, […]

Typos that reverse meaning

It’s fairly common for a writer to accidentally leave out the word not and thereby write the opposite of what they intended. But I feel like it’s less common for other kinds of typos to result in a reversal of meaning. I just came across one: It was an intense feeling of fatherless. Based on […]


Aldiborontiphoskyphorniostikos is a book, published around 1825, containing a paragraph for each letter of the alphabet; each entry adds something new at the start and then repeats everything that came before. The book described itself as a game, in which players were to quickly read entries aloud, without stumbling. Some of the entries included long […]

A font to avoid in body text: Weiss

Many years ago, I read and enjoyed Richard S. Grant’s 1987 novel Rumors of Spring. But it had one flaw that lessened my enjoyment: the typeface that it was printed in. (At least in the mass-market paperback edition; I don’t know about other editions.) The letters of the typeface were fairly attractive. But the punctuation […]

Up to … or more!

Pet peeve: The phrase up to [some number] or more. I see this now and then in ads, in lines like (made-up example) “The battery lasts up to 8 hours or more!” If you take that phrase literally, it’s meaningless—the battery might last less than 8 hours, or it might last more, who knows? Vaguely […]


A nice explanation by Shweta Narayan about smol having become a separate word, with different connotations, from small. (Published in 2017, I think.) (Via Jen L.)