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Episode 1595

All That and a Bag of Chips

We tend to take the index of a book for granted, but centuries ago, these helpful lists were viewed with suspicion. Some even worried that indexes would harm reading comprehension! A witty new book tells the story. Plus, the Latin term bona fides...

Pronouncing “Bona Fides”

Marianne from Valdosta, Georgia, is stumped about how to pronounce the term bona fides. It means “authentic credentials,” as in literary bona fides, and comes from Latin bona fides, literally “good faith.” In the United...

Road Buddies and Follow Johns

Imagine you’re on a long road trip. Is there a word for that other driver who sets the pace for your car mile after mile? Road buddy, perhaps? A Rhode Island caller says her family calls that driver a Follow John. Social psychologist Stanley...

Umarell, the Italian Alter Kocker

You’ve seen this guy before: the older gent who strolls around at construction sites, asking questions, offering suggestions, and kibitizing about the activities there. The Italian dictionary Lo Zingarelli (Amazon) recently added the handy...