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Episode 1581

Your Imaginary Boyfriend

We use the term Milky Way for that glowing arc across the sky. But how people picture it varies from culture to culture. In Sweden, that starry band goes by a name that means “Winter Street,” and in Hawaii, a term for the Milky Way...

Episode 1530

Mrs. Astor’s Horse

“What has a head like a cat, feet like a cat, a tail like a cat, but isn’t a cat?” Answer: a kitten! A 1948 children’s joke book has lots of these to share with kids. Plus: an easy explanation for the difference between...

Cold as Aggie Forti

Margo from Denton, Texas, says when the weather was really cold, her Kentucky-born grandmother would say it was cold as agga forti. The term aggie forti refers to something really strong, particularly a strong drink. That expression and the variants...

Fever Blister vs. Cold Sore

Rebecca in Austin, Texas, wonders why the terms cold sore and fever blister describe pretty much the same thing. Also, why do we say we have a cold, but we have the flu? The word flu comes from the Italian word for influence, influenza, and is a...

All Get-Out

If it’s cold as all get-out, you’ll probably want to get to someplace warmer. The “get-out” in this informal expression might refer to being out in front, as in “the winner of all cold days,” or it could be a...

Kentucky Contestant on Slang This!

This week’s “Slang This!” contestant, from Cold Spring, Kentucky, tries to tease out the real slang words from the fake ones. Rubber-bands or herkies? An executive handle or a producer’s button? This is part of a complete...