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Tavern Sandwich

A vegetarian from Vermillion, South Dakota, wonders about the origin of a popular loose meat sandwich called a Tavern Sandwich. It’s like a sloppy joe, and also goes by the monikers Maid-Rite and Tastee. Martha notes a diner in Sioux City...

Mud Ducks

A Minnesotan who relocated to Wisconsin gets called a mud duck, and wants to know why. Much in the way Wisconsinites get referred to as cheese heads, it’s really a harmless bit of nomenclature from a cross-state rivalry. In hunting, the term...

Hootenanny

What does hoot mean? You might describe someone as a real hoot. But is the hoot in the phrase “not give a hoot” a different kind of hoot? Grant explains that in the positive case, hoot is a shortening of hootenanny, a informal party with...

Formal Movie Language

Is the excessively formal language in “True Grit” (2010) historically accurate? The hosts discuss why the Coen brothers would do away with contractions to set a tone for the movie. This is part of a complete episode.

Put That on Your Skedooly

Hi! In the latest episode of “A Way with Words,” it’s the day jobs of famous writers. We also discuss Eskimo kisses, the Puerto Rican treat called a “limber,” how “fail” became a noun, “I’m...