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.
- Flee Fly Flo 01/02/2017: Wrapping up 2016 with words from the past year and some newsy limericks. Bigly and Brexit were on lots of lips this year, as well... [more]
- Six and Eight 01/02/2017: A San Diego, California, listener recalls that when asked "How's it going?" his father would often respond "same old six and eight." It may be... [more]
- Holiday, A Missed Spot 01/02/2017: Holiday is an old term for a spot missed when painting or wiping a surface. It's mentioned in Grose's 1811 Dictionary of the Vulgar Tongue.... [more]
- Nyello 01/02/2017: Responding to our conversation about concluding a phone call with mmm-bye, a listener offers an example of a humorous telephone greeting: "Nyello!" This is part... [more]
- Alte Kacker, Old Cocker 01/02/2017: A Tallahassee, Florida, listener heard an interview in which actor William H. Macy referred to old cockers, apparetly meaning "old fellows." Although one meaning of... [more]