It's Independence Day, and it's time to raise Old Glory high, spend a few greenbacks on fireworks, and sing "The Star-Spangled Banner"! While you're doing that, pause for a moment and reflect on a great seldom-asked question: What is the definition of spangle?
We all sing it. We all know it in the phrase "star-spangled banner." But it wasn't invented for that phrase. It's one of a few odd words and phrases connected with America and the Fourth of July that we may use without thinking twice about ... until now.
1. SpangleA spangle is a sparkly thing that dangles: a geometric [...]
I have always been an a-t-r-o-c-i-o-u-s speller.
That made the half-hour drive to elementary school, when my father would hold in one hand the despised, coffee-stained piece of paper containing the 10 words I had to memorize for that week, one of my most miserable childhood rituals. "Embarrassment," he would prompt. "I felt embarrassment when our dog barked at the neighbors."
A sigh. "We'll put that on the 'keep working' list."
Unlike most students, I dreaded Fridays, because we'd have our weekly quizzes. I often got scolded by my teacher for missing three or more words on the list by the time the [...]