Daily Content Archive

(as of Saturday, January 19, 2019)
Word of the Day

insomniac

Definition:(adjective) Experiencing or accompanied by sleeplessness.
Synonyms:sleepless, watchful
Usage: Every night, I'm woken by the sound of creaking floorboards as my insomniac husband leaves for another late-night snack.
Daily Grammar Lesson

Using "May" to Ask for Permission

The modal verb "may" is very commonly used to express or ask for permission to do something. While "may" is considered the most polite and formally correct option when asking for permission, what other modal verbs can be used? More...
Article of the Day

The Rock of Gibraltar

Home to the British colony of Gibraltar, the Rock of Gibraltar is a limestone promontory at the tip of Spain that guards the northeastern end of the Strait of Gibraltar, linking the Mediterranean Sea with the Atlantic Ocean. It contains many caves and defense works and is home to a colony of macaques—the only wild primates in Europe. Known also by its Latin name, Calpe, the Rock of Gibraltar is considered one of the Pillars of Hercules described in ancient mythology. What is the other "pillar"? More...
This Day in History

The Silvertown Explosion (1917)

During World War I, a chemical factory in the highly populated area of Silvertown, England, was used to purify TNT in order to meet the urgent demand for explosive shells. Although a newer, safer plant was built elsewhere, production continued at the factory until a fire ignited 50 tons of TNT in 1917. The explosion killed 73 people, injured hundreds more, and destroyed the plant, many nearby buildings, and a gasholder—sparking an enormous fireball. To what is the low death toll attributed? More...
Today's Birthday

Patricia Highsmith (1921)

Highsmith started out as a comic book artist before becoming known for her chilling tales of crime and cruelty. Alfred Hitchcock propelled her career by adapting her first novel Strangers on a Train, and Highsmith gained further attention as a master of psychological menace with her books about handsome and "talented" psychopath Tom Ripley. Like many of her characters, though, Highsmith was prone to self-destructive and bizarre behavior, including keeping about 300 of what in her garden? More...
Quotation of the Day
Soap and education are not as sudden as a massacre, but they are more deadly in the long run.

Mark Twain (1835-1910)

Idiom of the Day

on (someone's) wrong side

Displeasing to someone; provoking someone's anger, contempt, or dismissal. More...
Today's Holiday

Epiphany (Russia) (2022)

On January 19th, members of the Russian Orthodox Church ritually bathe in a river or lake. The day marks the Baptism of Jesus Christ in the River Jordan, an event called the Epiphany, and Orthodox Catholics believe that bathing outside on that day washes away sin. As believers cut holes in the ice with chainsaws and plunge into the frigid water, priests chant prayers to bless the water. Altars and crosses made of ice and snow are sometimes constructed near the bathing site. Authorities advise against the practice, especially in the freezing temperatures of a Russian winter. More...
Word Trivia

Today's topic: heap

mogul - A small mound of snow on a ski course, from Old Norse mugl, "little heap." More...

congeries - A Latin word meaning "heap or pile of disparate items" or "disorderly collection." More...

midden - Traces back to Scandinavian forms mog, "muck," and dynge, "heap," and first meant "dunghill" before it denoted a prehistoric or historic refuse heap. More...

accumulate - One of its Latin elements is cumulus, "a heap." More...

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