In our latest online-only episode, Martha’s been putting together a collection of your favorite collective nouns and Grant joins her to swat around a caller’s question about what to call a game of tennis when you have only three players. “Canadian Doubles”? “Australian doubles”? A double on the rocks?

Listen here:

Download the MP3 here (2.5MB).

You join the conversation about collective nouns already underway in our discussion forum.

Also, rev up your minds for something free! We have a spare copy of Jeff Prucher’s book, The Oxford Dictionary of Science Fiction, that we’d like to give away. You can find details here.

  1. Connie Charles says:

    Sorry to be a dunce, but how do I listen to the “show” if I don’t have an iPod or an MP3 player?
    I’m used to listening to pieces from NPR on RealPlayer, but haven’t figured out how to make your stuff come through on that.
    Thanks. Connie

  2. Connie, when you click through to the listen link, you should just be able to click on the blue “Listen” button for each podcast, where you’ll see a way to play the show built into the browser or a link to an MP3 file that will either also play in your browser, in RealPlayer, iTunes, or in Windows Media Player.

  3. bill5 says:

    On 3-player doubles, how about sesqui-doubles?

    (In other games, we just called it “2 on 1”, though…)

  4. Millie Gordon says:

    How about:

    a raquet of tennis players


    an asimov of aliens?

  5. martha says:

    Hi, Millie — I like the asimov of aliens especially. Don’t forget to post your entry on the “A Way with Words” discussion forum, lest it get lost over here in the “Comments” section!

  6. martha says:

    Bill5, I dunno about “sesqui-doubles,” but until I saw your suggestion there, I hadn’t thought about the possibility of “demi-doubles,” which is a little easier to say, no?

  7. Edmund says:

    if you are really interested in using new-old usable, apt, quaint applicable choice words, check out, “There’s a Word For It!” by Charles Harrington Elster. There are imitators of this slim book but this one is the superior original glossary of apt words we thought there were somewhere to be found for our use.

  8. Irene says:

    I like an asimov of aliens. But asimov could also be applied to a prolific science writer, or there could be a writer’s body of science fiction and non-fiction works.

    Charles Harrington Elster, of course, was one of the original team for A Way With Words, with Richard Lederer. I hope they are just enjoying a punning retirement.

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