Home » Contents

TagContents

Episode 1591

Pushing the Envelope

Sure, there’s winter, spring, summer, and fall. But the seasons in between have even more poetic names. In Alaska, greenup describes a sudden, dramatic burst of green after a long, dark winter. And there are many, many terms for a cold snap...

Episode 1547

Cabin Fever

The adjectives canine and feline refer to dogs and cats. But how does English address other groups of animals? Plus, cabin fever has been around much longer than the current pandemic. That restless, antsy, stir-crazy feeling goes back to the days...

Episode 1542

Baby Blues

A hundred years ago, suffragists lobbied to win women the right to vote. Linguistically speaking, though, suffrage isn’t about “suffering.” It’s from a Latin word that involves voting. Plus: military cadences often include...

Shake a Stick At

Where do we get the expression more than you can shake a stick at? It probably just derives from counting. Imagine herdsmen bringing in their cattle or sheep at the end of the day, pointing with a stick in order to do a headcount. This is part of a...

Sports Nicknames

With linsanity and tebowing sweeping the country, we’re thinking about other great sports nicknames. Unfortunately, it seems that with unique names taking up a greater percentage of children born, there’s no longer as much practical...

Facepalm and Headdesk

Hello, language-lovers — This past weekend’s episode is a delicious re-airing of a show from last spring, tackling great catchprases, Fibber McGee drawers, autocorrected text messages, annoying verbal fillers (“um”) and a...