Manila vs. Vanilla Folder


Manila folder or envelope (noun)- a file folder or envelope originally made from Manila hemp, traditionally buff-colored

I thought these are called vanilla folders for their cream color and plain look. It was not until much later that I learned they are named after the plant Manila hemp, which is a relative of edible bananas.

Winner: tie


Varicose Veins


Varicose vein (noun)- an abnormal swelling and tortuosity especially of a superficial vein of the legs, usually used in plural

Talking about Middlebury the other day, I remembered that I had a multivariable calculus professor who loved to wear shorts and had the nastiest varicose veins on one of his calves. I would often stare at them and picture how the blood would splatter if the veins had burst.


Spic (noun)– an offensive word for a person of Hispanic background in the U.S.

Setting my goal at the beginning of this year to read 40 books in 2015, I’m on book 38. I just finished reading Sonia Sotomayor’s My Beloved World, in which I learned the word “spic.” Other biographies I read this year include Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson, I Am Malala by Malala Yousafzai, and The Romanov Sisters by Helen Rappaport.