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I've been reading some statistics about books, and they're not pretty. Though many books are being printed, sales are falling in nearly all fiction and nonfiction categories.

This is a terrible thing.

I wrote recently about the words and phrases being added to the dictionary. I can't see the future, but I have been thinking about how online dictionaries would try to translate our current book idioms in, say, 2,000 years, when fewer people will be turning the pages of books as we know them today.

Admittedly, I had to refer to a webpage titled "Computer Terms for Children" to assist me.

You can't judge a book by its cover. This means you can't learn the qualities of something by appearances alone.

So, possibly, this would become:

You can't judge a motherboard by its monitor.

You can't judge a computer by its desktop.

You can't judge a website by its home page.

Here's another example:

Victor was always an open book. This means he had no secrets and is easily understood.


Victor's website could be accessed without any passwords.

Someday, instead of saying: Let's close the book on this matter.

We might say:

Let's uninstall this program.

Tom's love of reading may have caused poor posture, so we say: Tom had his nose in a book.

Will that become:

Tom's eyes never left the screen.

Jake is familiar with all possible age-old ways to save time. So: Jake knows every trick in the book on getting things done quickly.

How do you like:

He's familiar with every program shortcut.

Will decided he liked how Julia did things, so: Will took a page out of Julia's book.

Someday, it might be:

Will downloaded the same app as Julia did.

Will did a backup of Julia's files.

When you have a test coming up, you need to study. So: Vivian had to hit the books over the weekend.

Someday we might say:

Vivian needs to scrutinize the data.

Vivian must upload the material.

Chloe is a veteran glassblower who knows just about everything about the topic. So: Chloe wrote the book on glassblowing.

In the future:

Chloe assembled the URL on glassblowing.


The word "shampoo" is odd, and you can't figure out its meaning from its two parts: "sham" + "poo."

It comes from a Hindi word meaning "to massage or press." Its current meaning of hair washing didn't come about until the late 1830s.

It didn't start from a soap-related word, even though you can spell the word "soap" from some of its letters.


When you hurt yourself, you probably shout "Ouch!" or "Ow!" Many people do. But do you know why?

A study published in 2015 found that we say some form of "ouch" to help us handle the pain. People who say it were able to endure pain for a little longer than those who didn't.

The researchers theorized that the effort to say "ouch" somehow interrupts the pain message that is heading to the brain.

Still, this doesn't explain where the word "ouch" comes from. Dictionaries say the origin is unknown, and the word showed up in English in the mid-1800s. "Ouch" in Spanish is "ay." In French, it's "aie."

In German, it's "autsch."

And the study noted that swearing seemed to help people handle pain better, too. But that's another story.


Drug advertising or medical research sometimes overuses a phrase.

According to a key study, mice were more energetic after consuming chocolate chips than after consuming raisins.

How is it that every study is a key one? And would you ever believe the findings of a minor study?

An inconsequential study reports that researchers couldn't get the mice to eat chocolate or raisins.


I was assembling a jigsaw puzzle with friends, and we realized we didn't know the technical names for those interlocking parts.

We have no central authority on such things, but people at a couple of puzzle websites shared what names they use.

The roundish things that stick out are called tabs or knobs. Also, outies, bobbles, loops, tongues and keys.

The slots where those things go are called pockets, innies, slots, indents, locks and blanks.

One website had a word for that rascal who finds a piece for the puzzle section that someone else is poring over, nonchalantly butts in and places the piece where it goes: "piece thief."

Hope I'm not getting too technical there.

But, really, what feverish jigsaw puzzler has time to worry about what things are named?

Sources: Ebook Friendly, The Free Dictionary, Your Dictionary, Espresso English, English Language and Usage, Berrett-Koehler Publishers, Publishers Weekly, Merriam-Webster, Puzzle History, Journal of Pain, Word Hippo


ActiveStyle on 07/22/2019

Print Headline: Book terms out of print in the future


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