Is there a term for the way words feel when they’re spoken that has nothing to do with their meaning? The word “suitcase” feels nice to say, unlike rural. “Cellar door” certainly has a different quality than “moist ointment.” Mouthfeel is an oft-noted concept. But in his book Alphabet Juice, Roy Blount Jr. says of his favorite term to enunciate: polyurethane foam. His reason? “It’s just so sayable.” This is part of a complete episode.
- Brollies and Bumbershoots 04/16/2018: If you think they refer to umbrellas as bumbershoots in the UK, think again. The word bumbershoot actually originated in the United States! In Britain,... [more]
- Cool Your Soup 04/09/2018: According to Nigerian writer Chinua Achebe, it's important to master the basics of writing, but there comes a time when you have to strike out... [more]
- Put on the Dog 04/02/2018: Why isn't "you're welcome" the default response to "thank you" for everyone? Plus lies that kids tell, Philadelphia lawyer, cowbelly, skutch, mind-bottling vs. mind-boggling, tsundoku,... [more]
- Fighting Artichokes 03/25/2018: What's in a mascot name? Maybe you're a fan of the Banana Slugs, or you cheer for the Winged Beavers. Perhaps your loyalty lies with... [more]
- Gee and Haw 03/12/2018: The highly specialized vocabulary of people who work outdoors, communicating with sled dogs, a word from the sport of rock-climbing, church key, browse line, smeuse,... [more]