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Psammakosioi

From ancient Greece comes this example of an indefinite hyperbolic numeral such as umpteen, zillion, and fifty-eleven: psammakosioi. Aristophanes coined this term, which was picked up by other ancient writers, and literally means “sand...

Smiles and Dials

Metal detecting hobbyists who love tweaking their detecting devices are jokingly described by their peers as dials and smiles. This is part of a complete episode.

Open Book Rock Formation

An open book is a rock formation that looks just like its name. This specialized term is one of hundreds collected and explained in the book Home Ground: A Guide to the American Landscape. Such a rock formation is also called a dihedral. This is...

Episode 1524

Kite in a Phone Booth

Stunt performers in movies have their own jargon for talking about their dangerous work. In New York City, the slang term brick means “cold,” and dumb brick means “really cold.” Plus: the East and Central African tradition...

Apanthropy

If you have an aversion to human company and a love of solitude, you have apanthropy, from Greek words that mean “away from humans.” This is part of a complete episode.

Carrotocracy

On our Facebook group, Brett asks: “What do you call a society run by rabbits?” A carrotocracy? How about a whatsupdocracy? This is part of a complete episode.

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