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Pickthank, now an archaic and literary term, denotes a sycophant who curries favor. This is part of a complete episode.

Archaic Word Brain Teaser

Quiz Guy John Chaneski’s latest brain teaser is about archaic words. For example, what does the following sentence mean? “Three times in the last decade the Duchess of Cambridge has experienced accouchement.” This is part of a...

Why Doesn’t a Surgeon Surge?

If an operator operates, why doesn’t a surgeon surge? The word surgeon comes from ancient Greek cheir, which means “hand,” and ergon, “work,” surgery being a kind of medical treatment done by hand, rather than the work...


Daddle is an archaic term for “hand” or “fist,” and tip us your daddle is an invitation to shake hands. This is part of a complete episode.

To Fret Someone

At our recent appearance in Dallas, Texas, a listener asked about the use of fret as a transitive verb, as in “Don’t fret that child.” This usage is particularly common in the American South, and comes from the old notion of fret...


What could sound more romantic than French kissing? Perhaps its archaic synonym, cataglossism. Here’s a limerick to help you remember this word. This is part of a complete episode.