Daily Content Archive

(as of Friday, November 20, 2015)
Word of the Day

virgule

Definition:(noun) A punctuation mark (/) used to separate related items of information.
Synonyms:separatrix, solidus, slash, diagonal, stroke
Usage: Because the poem was reproduced in block text, virgules were used to indicate where the lines had originally been separated.
Daily Grammar Lesson

Mitigators

Mitigators are adverbs or adverbials that modify adjectives and adverbs to reduce their intensity, making them seem less extreme or powerful. What is the difference between mitigators and intensifiers? More...
Article of the Day

Olfaction

The organs of smell are confined to a small area in the roof of the nasal cavity. Olfactory cells are stimulated when certain molecules reach them, and nerve fibers extend from these receptor cells to the olfactory bulb in the human brain. Smell is one of our most subtle senses, amplifying the sense of taste and detecting tens of thousands of distinct scents. Odor information is easily stored in long-term memory and has strong connections to emotional memory. Why might this be? More...
This Day in History

Oil Rig Accidentally Drains Lake Peigneur (1980)

When Leonce Viator, Jr., set out in his boat for a day of fishing on Louisiana's Lake Peigneur, he never imagined he would end up fighting for his life. But that is exactly what happened after an oil rig on the lake's surface accidentally bored through the roof of a salt mine beneath it. Like a bathtub whose plug has been pulled, the lake began draining into the mine, creating a whirlpool that sucked in not just water but barges, trees, and acres of surrounding land. What happened to Viator? More...
Today's Birthday

Selma Lagerlöf (1858)

Lagerlöf was a Swedish author who is best known for her children's book, The Wonderful Adventures of Nils. While working as a teacher, Lagerlöf got her big break as a writer when chapters of her first novel, Gösta Berling's Saga, won first prize in a literary contest. Lagerlöf rooted her work in legend in a reaction against contemporary Swedish realism. In 1909, she became the first woman to win the Nobel Prize for Literature. What did she do with her medal during World War II? More...
Quotation of the Day
Towns are excrescences, gray fluxions, where men, hurrying to find one another, have lost themselves.

E. M. Forster (1879-1970)

Idiom of the Day

take a bawling out

To receive a very severe rebuke, chastisement, or scolding (from someone). More...
Today's Holiday

Mawlid al-Nabi (Maulid al-Nabi) (2018)

Mawlid al-Nabi celebrates the birth of Muhammed, the founder of Islam. Born in Mecca around 570, he was a shepherd and a trader who began to receive revelations from God when he was 40 years old. Over the next 23 years he not only established a religion but brought an unprecedented political unity to Arab tribes. Muhammad's birth began to be observed as a public holiday about the 12th century. It is celebrated with the recitation of litanies in mosques, and with firecrackers and gift-giving throughout the Middle East and countries with prominent Muslim populations. More...
Word Trivia

Today's topic: losing

idiot strings - Refers to the strings that attach mittens to prevent a child from losing one. More...

in hock - Can be traced to the card game faro, in which the last card in the box was called the hocketty card; when a player bet on a card that ended up in hock, he was at a disadvantage and was himself in hock and at risk of losing his bets. More...

jeopardy - Comes from French ieu parti, "(evenly) divided game" (from Latin jocus partitus, "divided game"), referring originally to chess, in which the chances of winning and losing are balanced. More...

pain - Originally meant punishment for a crime or offense—sometimes by losing one's head. More...

In the News

These Slimy Deep-Sea Worms Are Surprisingly Close Cousins to Humans

People have more in common with deep-sea worms than one might suspect. Over 500 million years ago, humans and certain worms shared a common ancestor, and people still share thousands of genes with the worms, said scientists who recently sequenced genomes ... More...
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