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Bovine, Pavonine, and Other Animal Adjectives

Lisa calls from Wellsboro, Pennsylvania, to ask about adjectives involving various kinds of animals. She knows that pavonine describes something having to do with peacocks, bovine involves cows, anserine refers to geese, and lupine has to do with...

Homey vs. Homely

A woman in Omaha, Nebraska, wonders about the difference between the adjectives homey and homely. In the UK, the word homely is still a positive term that means cozy, whereas in the US it usually means “unattractive” or “plain...

Uropygium

The scientific name for that part of a fowl otherwise known as the pope’s nose or the bishop’s nose is uropygium. The Greek root of this word, pyge, meaning “rump,” is also found in the English adjectives callipygian, which...

Cute as a Button

Did you ever wonder why we capitalize the pronoun “I,” but not any other pronoun? Also, the romantic story behind the term halcyon days, the origin of the phrase “like white on rice,” and the linguistic scuttlebutt on the...

Adding Letters to Make New Nouns

A listener from Bozeman, Montana, wonders: Is it lame to add the letters th to the end of adjectives to make new nouns like lameth? This is part of a complete episode.

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