Embers and Pleonasms

Someone on NPR reporting a fire said something about “the still-hot embers.” A Google search brings up about 5,000 uses of the phrase “still-hot embers.” The phrase is a pleonasm. Embers can’t be anything but hot.   ember noun: a...

Epithet and Epitaph

This post was prompted by the misuse of the word epitaph for epithet in a recent article at US Uncut News. I wondered how common this misuse might be, so I took to the Web. When I did a search of the phrase “racial epitaph,” I got so few hits that I almost...

“Mic” Rhymes with “Bic”

More repellant to me than the steady drumming of the name Trump in the news is journalists’ use of the abbreviation mic as the spelling of the clipped form of the word microphone. It was, in effect, hot mics that brought down Nixon—Adam Gropnik in The New...