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Episode 1590

Primary Colors

Centuries ago, monks who took a vow of silence developed their own hand signs, with hundreds of gestures, that are still in use today. Plus, how do speakers of different languages distinguish similar shades and tints of colors such as red, yellow...

Episode 1589

Deep-Fried Air

Eels, orts, and Wordle! Sweden awarded its most prestigious literary award to a book about…eels. The Book of Eels reveals the mysterious life cycle of this sea creature and its significance for famous figures from Aristotle to Sigmund Freud. Plus...

Two Bits and Pieces of Eight

Nancy from Berthold, North Dakota, used the expression two bits to mean “25 cents.” Her adult daughter had heard neither that expression nor the saying Shave and a haircut, two bits or the cheer Two bits, four bits, six bits, a dollar...

Orts and Other Bits of Food

An ort is a small bite of food left on one’s dinner plate. Also known as the manners bit or manners piece, because some people consider it polite for guests to leave that last bite, which suggests that the host provided enough for everyone to...

runway

runway  n.—Gloss: The time needed to launch a new business. «We’ll be trying to salvage, sell, merge the promising start-ups and dispensing with those requiring too much runway and capital to break even.» —“Maybe We Should Call...