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Strictly speaking

Strictly speaking: software carpentry

The ancient craft of carpentry still implies hands-on working with wood, using tools such as saw, hammer and nails to join the pieces into weight-bearing structures. So the phrase software carpentry used for an advanced training course makes an odd ...

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Strictly speaking | Eveninger

The online Oxford English Dictionary has regular updates, and an entry added last month was for the word eveninger. It’s actually quite an old term, first cited in the US in 1932 as an item of women’s evening wear, but ...

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Strictly Speaking | Snowflake

The meanings of words are constantly changing, with some ending up very far from their original sense. Smug was originally a positive adjective, used for complimenting people on their smart appearance. Obviously this praise went to their heads, giving us ...

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Binge-watching

The word binge is derived from an old English dialect verb meaning ‘to soak’, hence its association with (alcoholic) liquid over-indulgence. Since its first recorded use in this sense, in the mid-19th century, the range of binge- worthy activities has ...

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Oblivion? No just off-grid

The phrases off-grid and off-the-grid, in the strict sense of being unconnected to the standard electricity supply, took off in the 1970s when independent sources of energy (that is, solar power for remote locations) were first under discussion. Several decades later, ...

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Strictly speaking | Solastalgia

The suffix –algia comes from the Greek word meaning ‘pain’, and is normally used in medical terms that  categorise physical distress, as in myalgia (‘muscle pain’) and odontalgia (‘toothache’). By contrast, the less specialised word nostalgia refers to mental anguish, ...

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