This Missouri S&T professor of foreign languages was once a clue on the popular TV game show Jeopardy! If you guessed, “Who is Dr. Gerald Cohen?” congratulations. Cohen earned the distinction of being named in a clue on the Wednesday, Jan. 6, 2016, edition of the show. The clue was: “Professor Gerald Cohen, an expert on word origins, edits a learned journal called ‘Comments on’ this.” For those of you playing at home, the correct answer is: “What is ‘etymology.’”

In his journal, Cohen writes about the possible or likely origins of words and phrases in the American lexicon, such as “abacus,” “kibosh” and “jazz.” He wasn’t watching the program when his name appeared; a family friend called him to inform him. “My reaction was, of course, complete surprise,” Cohen said on the day following the program. “I didn’t wake up yesterday morning wondering if I’d be on Jeopardy! My second thought was, ‘Hey, I could have answered that question.’”

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