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Sink Room in an Old House

Lola in Madison, Wisconsin, just bought a 1921 house that has a separate room beside the kitchen for a dishwashing sink and cupboards. She and her partner are unsure what to call it. The sink room, maybe? Yes! The name reflects the history of how...

The Asyou Stair

Ron from Wynnewood, Pennsylvania, shares a family word he learned from his college roommate: asyou. The word asyou denotes “the second or third stair on the staircase” — in other words, the stair where you put things to remember to take...

Who Calls Sliding Doors “Doorwalls”?

Doorwall was once used in many parts of the United States for “sliding glass door,” although the term now seems to have settled largely in parts of Michigan. In the American Southwest, these doors are sometimes called arcadia doors. This...

No Great Shakes

The phrase “no great shakes” means “no great thing” or “insignificant.” The term may have arisen from the idea of shaking dice and then having a disappointing toss. If so, it would fall into a long line of words...

Generic House of Worship

A television journalist in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, wants a generic term for “house of worship” to use in place of the word church in news reports. Synagogue, temple, sanctuary, and mosque are all too specific. What’s a fitting...

Birdbaths and Kitty Baths

We’ve talked before about those abbreviated baths that one listener refers to as a Georgia bath. Listeners showered us with calls about more names for those abbreviated cleanups, including birdbaths and kitty baths. This is part of a complete...

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