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Episode 1592

You Talk Like a Sausage  

Do you refer to your dog or cat as “somebody”? As in: When you love somebody that much, you don’t mind if they slobber. In other words, is your pet a somebody or a something? Also, for centuries, there was little consistency in the...

Episode 1584

Sleepy Winks

It was a dark and stormy night. So begins the long and increasingly convoluted prose of Edwards Bulwer-Lytton’s best-known novel. Today the annual Bulwer-Lytton Contest asks contestants for fanciful first sentences that are similarly...

When “Evening” Means “Afternoon”

Joan grew up in Yorkshire, England, then moved to New Orleans, Louisiana. There she was surprised to hear some people use the term evening instead of afternoon to refer to “the period between noon and 5 p.m.” The word evening is used...

Worst Line in the West

The winner of the Western category of the 2021 Bulwer-Lytton Contest, which rewards cleverly awful first lines of fiction, explains what happens when Tumbleweed Mulligan and Johnny “Trigger” McAllister take over the Black Dog Saloon for...

Italian Food Idioms

The Italian phrase Non si frigge mica con l’acqua literally translates as “We don’t fry with water around here,” and means that the speaker doesn’t do things halfway. Quite a few other Italian idioms involve food. One...

Shank of the Evening Expression

It’s the shank of the evening! But when is that, exactly? This phrase is typically suggests that the night is far from over, shank being an old word for something straight, or the tail end of something. But as the Dictionary of American...