Hyperbolic Headlines Will Restore Your Faith In Humanity!!!! Or maybe not. You’ve seen those breathless headlines on the internet, like “You Won’t Believe What This 7-year-old Said to The President!” They’re supposed to lure you to another webpage–but now there’s a backlash against such clickbait. Plus, the most beautiful word in the Icelandic language. And if being disgruntled means you’re annoyed, does being gruntled mean you’re happy? Plus, gleeking, balloon juice, belly stretchers, scared vs. afraid, peruse, belting out a song, acknowledging the corn, To Whom It May Concern, and that awkward silence in elevators. This episode first aired February 14, 2014.
In Icelandic, the term for “midwife” literally translates as “light mother.” Icelanders voted it the most beautiful word in their language. Similarly, in Spanish, the phrase for “give birth,” dar a luz, translates literally as “give to light.”
Disgruntled means “unhappy,” and gruntled means the opposite, although you almost never hear the latter. Playing with such unpaired words can be irresistible, whether you’re a poet or an essayist for The New Yorker.
Quiz Guy John Chaneski has a puzzle involving expressions that pair famous people with the last syllables of their names. For example, what kind of drinking vessel might a mustachioed genius named Albert use?
A former copydesk chief points out the circular nature of dictionaries using citations from newspapers that in turn consult dictionaries and the AP Styleguide for questions of usage.
We’re so jaded by the clickbait titles directing us to sites like Upworthy that the site Downworthy is doing something about it. And imagine what it’d be like if serious literature got the same treatment.
Did your teacher ever make you write a sentence over and over as punishment? That task is called a pensum.
Wedding guests lip-sync to a song which is later set to music in the wedding video, forming a word combining marriage and karaoke: marryoke.
A Somerville, Massachusetts, listener wonders about a phrase her family uses, freeze your caboogies off. Its origin is unknown, and it’s unclear whether it’s related to another term for the backside, bahookie.
Photo by Miguel Virkkunen Carvalho. Used under a Creative Commons license.
Book Mentioned in the Episode
|AP Stylebook Online by Associated Press|
Music Used in the Episode
|The Traitor||Menahan Street Band||Make The Road By Walking||Dunham Records|
|Montego Sunset||Menahan Street Band||Make The Road By Walking||Dunham Records|
|Make The Road By Walking||Menahan Street Band||Make The Road By Walking||Dunham Records|
|Super Strut||Deodato||The Roots of Acid Jazz||Sony|
|The Contender||Menahan Street Band||Make The Road By Walking||Dunham Records|
|Tired of Fighting||Menahan Street Band||Make The Road By Walking||Dunham Records|
|Birds||Menahan Street Band||Make The Road By Walking||Dunham Records|
|Sideman||Lonnie Smith||The Roots of Acid Jazz||Sony|
|Karina||Menahan Street Band||Make The Road By Walking||Dunham Records|
|Home Again||Menahan Street Band||Make The Road By Walking||Dunham Records|
|Let’s Call The Whole Thing Off||Ella Fitzgerald||Ella Fitzgerald Sings The George and Ira Gershwin Song Book||Verve|