(R. Shruthi, Chennai)

This is an idiom which is mostly used in British and Australian English. Sometimes when we have stayed indoors for a long time, we feel tired or bored. To overcome these feelings, what is it that we do? Most of the time, we decide to step outside and get some fresh air. We may go for a walk, or play some cricket, tennis, etc. This outdoor activity which we take part in to clear our head is called `blow away the cobwebs'.

A nice little walk on the beach should blow away the cobwebs.

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"The only function of economic forecasting is to make astrology look respectable." - John Kenneth Galbraith

Correction: Answer to the first question that appeared in this column on October 21: the word should have been `uncharted' and not `unchartered'. The error is regretted.

S. UPENDRAN