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Hurry up with that dagger, we’re behind schedule:
“Secret Service Agent Rex Bennett battles Nazi operatives in wartime North Africa through 15 clock-and-dagger episodes …”
The adjective that pertains to espionage or intrigue is cloak-and-dagger. When the phrase was invented, around 1840, people thought of spies as wearing cloaks and carrying daggers. In the post-Bond era, we know that spies wear evening clothes and carry Berettas.
Cloak-and-sword is an adjective pertaining to books and plays about the customs and romance of bygone times. You can probably guess what the characters in these works wear.
Cloak-and-suiter is a noun, a name for a manufacturer or seller of clothing.
“There’s people in this and every market that would like a lighter presentation of the news.” Where there are smoke, there are fire.
“Next: Our heroes face the menace of the skanky blonde pundette.” A skank is “a woman of low or sleazy character.” One authority says that a skank is sluttish in appearance, too — not really attractive but thinks that she is. Pundette is obviously a feminized form of pundit. A skanky blonde pundette — who could that be?
“Until the needs of this state are met, we should use new monies coming to the Game and Fish through gas sales … to meet the needs of this state.” An editorialist responded to the above statement by saying that “lawyers and legislators have this unfortunate tendency to think money has a plural …” Monies is indeed too fancy (though technically permissible, according to Random House), but apparently we’ll have to get used to it. Everything gets pluralized these days. On page one of the editorialist’s newspaper, we find, “Kelis, 27, the singer … was arrested in Miami Beach, Fla., after authorities said she tried to disrupt an undercover police operation by screaming racial profanities …” It’s enough to interfere with the pursuit of happinesses.
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