What do you call the strip of grass between the street and the sidewalk? Depending on where you live, you may call it a tree lawn, a berm, a city strip, the parking, or one of a host of other regional terms for it. In a small part of the country, this narrow piece of land called a devil strip. In fact, this expression figures in a great story about forensic linguistics: When a linguist analyzed a ransom note and saw the term devil strip, he realized this was a telltale clue– one that would lead authorities right to the kidnapper. This is part of a complete episode.
- When Pigs Fly (episode #1571) 06/14/2021: Don't move my cheese! It's a phrase middle managers use to talk about adapting to change in the workplace. Plus, the origin story of the... [more]
- Cool Beans (episode #1570) 05/31/2021: If you speak a second or third language, you may remember the first time you dreamed in that new tongue. But does this milestone mean... [more]
- Love Bites (episode #1569) 05/17/2021: The word filibuster has a long and colorful history, going back to the days when pirates roamed the high seas. Today it refers to hijacking... [more]
- Lasagna Hog (episode #1568) 05/04/2021: Understanding the varieties of conversational styles can mean the difference between feeling you're understood and being insulted. "High-involvement" speakers interrupt or talk along with someone... [more]
- Kiss the Cow (episode #1567) 04/19/2021: An anadrome is a word that forms a whole new word when you spell it backwards. For example, the word "stressed" spelled backwards is "desserts."... [more]