We got a call from Sarah in Dresden, Germany, who’s applying to work for the State Department as foreign service officer. She was curious about an article that contained the term pinstriped cookie-pusher. According to William Safire’s Political Dictionary, this bit of derogatory slang came into use in the 1920s to refer to diplomats who were perceived as soft or even effeminate. These men in pinstriped suits would attend receptions at embassies where they’d push cookies instead of paper. This is part of a complete episode.
- Spur of the Moment 10/17/2016: A caller with a 25-year-old parrot wonders: How much language do birds really understand? Plus, Knock-knock. Who's there? Boo. Well… you can guess the rest.... [more]
- Hell for Leather 10/10/2016: Victorian slang and a modern controversy over language and gender. In the early 1900's, a door-knocker wasn't just what visitors used to announce their arrival,... [more]
- Scat Cat 09/17/2016: The dilemma continues over how to spell dilemma! Grant and Martha try to suss out the backstory of why some people spell that word with... [more]
- We have the results! 09/13/2016: Help support A Way with Words broadcasts and podcasts by making a donation now. Dear friends, Last week we sent out a simple survey to tens of... [more]
- Pop Stand 07/29/2016: When it comes to learning new things, what's on your bucket list? A retired book editor decided to try to learn Latin, and ended up... [more]