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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...

Gradoo

Gradoo is a word for something undesirable, the kind of thing you’d rather scrape off your shoe. A man who grew up in Louisiana wonders about the term, which he heard from both English and Cajun French speakers. This is part of a complete...

Official Names Puzzle

Puzzle Dude John Chaneski has a quiz about the unofficial terms for familiar things that have less familiar official names. “The Academy Awards of the American Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences,” for example, are unofficially...

Devil’s Beating his Wife

It’s raining, it’s pouring, but the sun is still shining. Quick—what do you call that? Some folks refer to it a sunshower, and others call it a monkey’s wedding. But a woman says her Southern-born mother used a much more unnerving...

Doofitty

A Hoosier says her friends tease her about the way she says doofitty when she can’t think of the right word for something. Grant and Martha discuss the long list of linguistic placeholders, including whatchamacallit, doodad, deely-bobber...

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