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Gracious Plenty

When somebody sneezes, we say bless you or gesundheit. But suppose that person coughs. Are you supposed to say something — or are they? Plus, Mexican standoffs, gracious plenty, linguistic false friends, southpaw vs. northpaw, the slang of rabbit...

South End of a Chicken

Are your nightstand books all over the place? Why not stack ’em into a bookmash? A bookmash is a kind of found poetry formed from book titles! And we all know that honesty is the best policy. But does that mean you should correct the grammar of your...

Grant Barrett

Gone Pecan

How did the word gay go from meaning lighthearted to homosexual? Also, why are elementary schools sometimes called grammar schools? Plus, imeldific, gone pecan, random Scrabble words, and the difference between borrow and lend. And the etiquette of...

Good Juju

Imagine a time when heroin was marketed for the whole family. It really happened! Also, how Twitter, M&M’s, and Hallmark cards got their names. Plus, restaurant slang, bad juju, having a wild hair, cutting to the quick, and use vs. utilize.

Sexy Prunes

You’re in a business meeting. Is it bad manners to take out your phone to send or read a text? A new study suggests that how you feel about mid-meeting texting differs depending on your age and sex. Grant and Martha offer book recommendations...

Literature Translation Issues

How do translators of literature decide which words to use? B.J. Epstein, a Chicago native now living in the UK, is a translator with an excellent blog on the subject called Brave New Words. This is part of a complete episode.

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