Home » Episodes » Page 4

ShowEpisodes

Here you’ll find full episodes of public radio’s A Way with Words, heard on NPR stations around the United States. Looking for something you heard on the show? Try the search page. You can also listen to all episodes on a single playlist and download episodes from that page.

Episode 1518

One-Armed Paper Hanger

The emotional appeal of handwriting and the emotional reveal of animal phrases. Should children be taught cursive writing in school, or is their time better spent studying other things? A handwritten note and a typed one may use the very same words...

Episode 1517

Hair on Your Tongue

If you speak both German and Spanish, you may find yourself reaching for a German word instead of a Spanish one, and vice versa. This puzzling experience is so common among polyglots that linguists have a name for it. • The best writers create...

Episode 1514

Space Cadet

We have books for language-lovers and recommendations for history buffs. • How did the word boondoggle come to denote a wasteful project? The answer involves the Boy Scouts, a baby, a craft project, and a city council meeting. • Instead of reversing...

Episode 1513

Howling Fantods

Are there words and phrases that you misunderstood for an embarrassingly long time? Maybe you thought that money laundering literally meant washing drug-laced dollar bills, or that AM radio stations only broadcast in the morning? • A moving new...

Episode 1624

Pizza Bones

If your last name is Cook or Smith, your ancestors probably worked in those professions. But what if your last name is Pope? Or Abbott? And if you have enough food for Coxey’s army, you have more than enough to go around. The phrase refers to...