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Episode 1513

Howling Fantods

Are there words and phrases that you misunderstood for an embarrassingly long time? Maybe you thought that money laundering literally meant washing drug-laced dollar bills, or that AM radio stations only broadcast in the morning? • A moving new...

South African “Shot” Slang

Cory in Newark, Ohio, says that while in South Africa, he heard the exclamation shot! used in an empathetic way to mean “that’s so sweet!” or “bless your heart!” In South Africa, the word can be used to express...

Spur of the Moment

A caller with a 25-year-old parrot wonders: How much language do birds really understand? Plus, Knock-knock. Who’s there? Boo. Well… you can guess the rest. But there was a time when these goofy jokes were a brand-new craze sweeping the nation...

Whistle Britches

Writers and where they do their best creative work. A new book on Geoffrey Chaucer describes the dark, cramped, smelly room where he wrote his early work. Which raises the question: What kind of space do you need to produce your best writing...

Who’s Your Googleganger?

It’s the news from your friends at “A Way with Words”! In our latest episode, we discussed “pore” vs. “pour,” “you’re” vs. “your,” “West Coast” vs. “Eastern...

Pardon Our French

South African English is a rich mix of Afrikaans, English, and indigenous languages such as Zulu and Xhosa. Martha and Grant discuss some favorite terms from that part of the world, including lekker, diski, and ubuntu. Also, where’d we get the...