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Is a Whistle Really all That Clean?

Fourteen-year-old Harry from Charlotte, Vermont, asks why we say something is clean as a whistle. Clean as a whistle refers not to a physical whistle, but to the purity of the sibilant sound. This is part of a complete episode.

Nerd vs. Geek

Books that make great gifts for language-lovers, the difference between a nerd and a geek, and talk about a new term, poutrage, and what do you call the crust in the corners of your eyes after a night’s sleep?


COY  n.— «We came out today to just get a little test time in on a mile-and-a-half. I hadn’t run a “COY” (Car of Yesterday), as they call it, and we plan to try to run Charlotte and Miami, so we’re trying to get a little test...

facial leakage

facial leakage  n.— «Natural emotions are instantaneous, which makes them difficult to fake. When Auntie pops round at Christmas to give you your 18th pair of socks, you look pleased and surprised because anything else would be rude. But...