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Create your own idiom, and tell us its origin—you know, the whole nine yards. Tell us about the relationship between you and your arch-nemesis (either real or imagined).
a full list of unmodified majors ready for your editor’s eye is available here. Describe something vestigial (real or imagined) and provide an explanation for its existence.
In French, there is no difference between “conscience” and “consciousness.” In Japanese, there is a word that specifically refers to the splittable wooden chopsticks you get at restaurants.
Have you ever walked through the aisles of a warehouse store like Costco or Sam’s Club and wondered who would buy a jar of mustard a foot and a half tall?
We’ve bought it, but it didn’t stop us from wondering about other things, like absurd eating contests, impulse buys, excess, unimagined uses for mustard, storage, preservatives, notions of bigness…and dozens of other ideas both silly and serious.
Tell us the story of a street, path, road—real or imagined or metaphorical.
University of Chicago alumna and renowned author/critic Susan Sontag said, “The only interesting answers are those that destroy the questions.” We all have heard serious questions, absurd questions, and seriously absurd questions, some of which cannot be answered without obliterating the very question. Superstring theory has revolutionized speculation about the physical world by suggesting that strings play a pivotal role in the universe.
The German word “fremdschämen” encapsulates the feeling you get when you’re embarrassed on behalf of someone else.
All of these require explanation in order to properly communicate their meaning, and are, to varying degrees, untranslatable. Parts of an atom, laws of thought, a guideline for composition. Create your own group of threes, and describe why and how they fit together.
We receive several hundred responses, many of which are eloquent, intriguing, or downright wacky.
As you can see from the attributions, the questions below were inspired by submissions from UChicago students and alumni.