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English Down Under

This week, Martha and Grant discuss terms from Australia, including aerial ping-pong, pumpkin squatter, and…kangarooster? They explain the connection between stereotypes and stereos, and why we call the person clearing tables in a restaurant a...

Dust Bunnies and Ghost Turds

Feeling fankled? It’s a Scots English word that means “messed up” or “confused.” In this week’s episode, Grant and Martha also discuss a whole litter of synonyms for dust bunny, a slew of different terms for the...

blue

blue  n.— «Who are the Patriots eyeing at No. 18? Both teams have to want to make a move. I think the Bears need to stay put. They need what are called “blues” and those are players who could start for any team in the league...

self-embedding

self-embedding  n.— «Health officials in Chicago are warning about a growing trend among teenagers who inflict pain on themselves by inserting foreign objects under their skin. The practice, called “self embedding,” is similar...

Etymology of Measure Fathom

“Full fathom five thy father lies…” When the Bard wrote these immortal words, he was talking about the word fathom as a measure of distance. But a Chicago caller can’t quite fathom the meaning of the verb “to fathom...

gun time

gun time  n.— «A similar issue arose at the Chicago Marathon two weeks ago, when Wesley Korir of Kenya finished fourth, despite starting five minutes after the elite runners. Like O’Connell, his time was clear because of the electronic...

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