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Hideous

A listener in Norwich, Connecticut, is going through a trove of love letters her parents sent each other during World War II. In one of them, her father repeatedly used the word hideous in an ironic way to mean “wonderful.” Is that part...

Hash Marks

Kathleen from Hebron, Connecticut, is curious about the term hashtag. She associates it with the symbol #, which she calls a pound sign. When that symbol, also known as a hash mark, doublecross, hatch mark, octothorpe, or number sign, is appended to...

A Murphy, a Melvin, and a Wedgie

When it comes to joining Facebook affinity groups, grammar lovers have lots of choices. Take, for example, the group whose motto is “Punctuation saves lives.” It’s called “Let’s Eat Grandma!” or “Let’s...

Down A Chimney Up

Good poetry is even better when you read it aloud. For his anthology, Essential Pleasures: A New Anthology of Poems to Read Aloud former U.S. Poet Laureate Robert Pinsky selected works with just that in mind. Martha and Grant discuss a poem from the...

Words That Will Color Your World

Happy September! In this week’s archive episode, “Sailor’s Delight,” we talk about weather proverbs, pooflapoo pie, tricks for remembering how to spell difficult words, and alternatives to the word “mentee.” We...

The Fighting Kewpies, Un-hunh!

In high school, no one thinks twice about cheering for the Fighting Trojans or the Tigers. But what about the Hickman Kewpies? Or the Maryville Spoofhounds? Martha and Grant talk about some of the odder names for school athletic teams. Also, in this...