Nerd used to be a term of derision, connoting someone who was socially awkward and obsessed with a narrow field of interest. Now it’s used more admiringly for anyone who has a passion for a particular topic. Linguists call that type of softening amelioration. This is part of a complete episode.
- Hell's Half Acre 03/28/2017: Hundreds of years ago, the word girl didn't necessarily mean a female child — in the 14th and 15th centuries, it could refer to a... [more]
- Another Name for a Dad-centric Baby Shower 03/28/2017: Responding to our discussion about what to call a baby shower for a dad-to-be, one listener suggests the term bro bath. This is part of... [more]
- Spanglish at the Border 03/28/2017: A man who divides his time between San Diego, California, and Tijuana, Mexico, wonders if linguistic mixtures similar to Spanglish arise at other borders. Spanglish:... [more]
- Hindi Strength Proverb 03/28/2017: A Hindi proverb that means "unity is strength" literally translates as "one and one make eleven." This is part of a complete episode. ... [more]
- Periods in Acronyms? 03/28/2017: Why, when writing out an abbreviated name like NATO for the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, don't we use periods between the letters to form the... [more]