What is a dog-and-pony show? This disparaging term goes back to the 1920s, when actual dog and pony shows competed with far more elaborate circuses. Many times the dog-and-pony offerings served as a front to hoochie-coochie shows or tents serving illegal alcohol. Over time, in the worlds of politics, business, and the military, the term was transferred to perfunctory or picayune presentations. This is part of a complete episode.
- Baby Blues (episode #1542) 02/10/2020: A hundred years ago, suffragists lobbied to win women the right to vote. Linguistically speaking, though, suffrage isn't about "suffering." It's from a Latin word... [more]
- Walkie Talkie (episode #1541) 01/27/2020: One of the most powerful words you'll ever hear — and one of the most poignant — isn't in dictionaries yet. But it probably will... [more]
- Tiger Tail (episode #1540) 01/20/2020: You may have a favorite word in English, but what about your favorite in another language? The Spanish term ojalá is especially handy for expressing... [more]
- Clever Clogs (episode #1539) 12/23/2019: Ribbon fall. Gallery forest. You won't find terms like these in most dictionaries, but they and hundreds like them are discussed by famous writers in... [more]
- Son of a Gun! - a Special Minicast from Grant 12/19/2019: Grant shoots holes in a story that just won’t die that about "son of a gun" and babies born aboard sailing ships. Before you get started... [more]