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Caucus and Caucasian; Mute Point vs. Moot Point

Hello, you have A Way with Words!

This past weekend's show covered a lot of ground, including new political language like "glass pockets" and "horseracism," and whether there is a relationship between "caucus" and "Caucasian."


Thomas called to talk about Italian-American culture, including the word "fugeddaboutit." We mentioned a list of other such mushed-together words collected by the Works Progress Administration in the 1930s. Here's that list, as reported by present-day word researcher Barry Popik:


Also, we discussed "moot point" vs. "mute point." Here's the "Friends" scene we mention on the show:


Hallie Leighton sent us a copy of the book she co-authored with her father, Jan Leighton. "Rare Words II, and Ways to Master Their Meanings," from Levenger Press, is a book-length digression on words that are interesting to have on one's tongue.

We also received two signed copies of the new edition of William Safire's political dictionary, called, of course, "Safire's Political Dictionary." It's been updated to include new language from more than three presidential terms and even includes language from the current political race.

If you'd like to have one of these two *signed* copies of the dictionary, then sign up to play our slang quiz. Submit your name, your phone numbers, the best time to reach you, and your favorite *political* slang word. Tell us the word, what it means, and why you like it.

By the way, Grant interviewed Mr. Safire about the new book and will be posting that online soon.

Listener Tracy Jane Comer (pronounced "comber") of Verona, Wisconsin, sent us copies of her new album called "Quietly There." It's a bluesy rocking set of tunes with heart. You can find out more about Tracy at her web site:


If you're not visiting our discussion forums, you're missing half the conversation. We just updated the forum software, so its faster and slicker. Dig in:


Best wishes,

Martha Barnette and Grant Barrett

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