When Barack Obama intoned, “I do not underestimate the enormity of the task ahead,” some grammar sticklers recoiled. Pointing to the word’s roots, they insist that enormity means not “large,” but “out of the ordinary.” A caller who’s been following a heated online dispute about this word asks the hosts for a verdict. They give the president-elect a pass. This is part of a complete episode.
- Take Tea for the Fever (episode #1508) 10/22/2018: Silence comes in many forms. Writer Paul Goodman says there is, for example, the noisy silence of "resentment and self-recrimination," and the helpful, participatory silence... [more]
- Sundog (episode #1507) 10/15/2018: A clever pun can make the difference between a so-so phrase and a memorable one. The phrase "the last straw" refers to an old fable... [more]
- Oh, For Cute! (episode #1506) 10/08/2018: A stereotype is a preconceived notion about a person or group. Originally, though, the word stereotype referred to a printing device used to produce lots... [more]
- Coinkydink (episode #1505) 10/01/2018: Sometimes it's a challenge to give a book a chance: How many pages should you read before deciding it's not worth your time? There's a... [more]
- Sweet Dreams (episode #1450) 09/22/2018: In deafening workplaces, like sawmills and factories, workers develop their own elaborate sign language to discuss everything from how their weekend went to when the... [more]