Vocab Rehab
The Origins of 9 Great British Insults
For as long as people have been speaking the English language, they’ve been deploying it to poke fun at one another.... READ ON
14 Words That Are Their Own Opposites
You're about to stumble into the looking-glass world of “contronyms”—words that are their own antonyms.... READ ON
27 Cowboy Slang Terms for Things You Eat and Drink
If your bread wallet is empty and you need to line the flue, knight the ribbons and mosey to a beanery. Your cookie-pusher will know what you mean when you order any of these 27 cowboy food and drink items. 1. Bear Sign: Doughnuts * 2. Overland trout: Bacon * 3. Blue John: Skimmed milk * 4. Boggy-top: A pie with no top crust * 5. Cackleberries: Eggs * 6. Charlie Taylor: A butter substitute made of sorghum or syrup mixed with fat. It wasn't good, and apparently neither was Charlie Taylor, who... READ ON
Understanding Diner Lingo: 55 Phrases to Get You Started
Photo: avlxyz on Flickr The origins of most diner phrases are shrouded in mystery or lost to history, and different regions and restaurants use different terminology for the same items, but this list should give you an idea of what's going on when you hear your waitress screaming about wrecking two chicks on a raft. 1. Adam and Eve on a raft/log - Two poached eggs on toast 2. Adam's ale/city juice/dog soup - Water 3. All hot - A baked potato 4. Axle grease/skid grease/cow paste - Butter 5. Baby... READ ON
26 Beatnik Slang Phrases You Should Start Using
Plenty of phrases from the first self-described hipster generation have lasted into modern conversation: people still get bent out of shape, annoying people bug us and muscular guys are still built, just to scan the b-words. Here are 26 words and phrases that don't get much use today, but are worth sneaking into conversation.... READ ON
11 Words With Politically Incorrect Etymologies
At various moments in its life, a word will hop languages, change meanings, travel through sinister moments and land in pleasant ones. But no matter how many times it’s superimposed, and how far it gets from its original source, a word doesn’t let go of its memories easily. Here are 11 modern English words with socially insensitive origins.... READ ON
The Dirty Etymology of 9 Everyday Words
Oops, you just said: Testicles.... READ ON
11 More Wonderful Words With No English Equivalent
Last summer Bill DeMain shared 15 nuanced words and expressions that simply can’t be said in English. Haley Sweetland Edwards gave you 14 more last fall. It seems no matter how great the English language is, there are plenty of mots justes missing from its lexicon. Here, indulge in a third and final volume of wonderful words and phrases you might want to start working into conversation. 1. Seigneur-terraces (French) Coffee shop dwellers who sit at tables a long time but spend little money. * 2.... READ ON
35 Modern Words Recently Added to the Dictionary
The Oxford Dictionary Online is a warehouse of over 600,000 words. Despite this large arsenal, we continue to coin, clip, and blend new words into existence, and the Oxford folks pump some of these new words into their dictionaries. Here are some more recent additions with their official definitions. 1. Bling (n): Expensive, ostentatious clothing and jewelry.*2. Bromance (n): A close but non-sexual relationship between two men.*3. Chillax (v): Calm down and relax.*4. Crunk (adj): Very... READ ON
Words Redefined: 37 Notable Entries in The Devil's Dictionary
Ambrose Bierce was a celebrated journalist, storyteller and, above all, cynic. Bierce had a barbed wit, and he often used it to kick American culture square in the teeth. In 1911, he published The Devil’s Dictionary, a partial lexicon that sardonically redefines over 1000 words. Here are some of our... READ ON

Engineers have mimicked the small bumps and waxy covering from a small desert beetle to increase the efficiency of the nets that are used to collect water from the air in 22 countries.

A super-skimmable daily digest.
©2016 Mental Floss, Inc. All rights reserved. Mental Floss® is a registered trademark owned by Felix Dennis. mentalfloss.com is a trademark owned by Felix Dennis.