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I Don’t Cotton To

A listener from Dallas wonders about the origin of “I don’t cotton to,” meaning “I’m not in favor of” or “I don’t get along with.” Though it sounds like a classic Southern phrase, Martha traces...

Ultimate Slang Dictionary

When it comes to language, who’s the decider? Grant explains how grammar rules develop. Also, what’s tarantula juice, and what’s the difference between a muffin top and a smiley? We discuss these and other terms from Green’s...

Cotton Candy Homophone

If you’re not yet old enough to understand homophones, you can wind up with some funny misunderstandings. Martha shares a listener’s story about avoiding cotton candy as a child, fearing that it was literally made of cotton. This is part...

Wait a Cotton-Picking Minute

Happy holidays to everyone! Your gift is another episode of A Way with Words. It's one-size-fits-all. This week we chewed over whether "cotton-picking" is racist, unintentionally funny headlines, a holiday-song quiz...

shuttle-kissing

shuttle-kissing  n.—Gloss: Marked “100 Years Ago” in a section head. «Lancashire medical officers are calling attention to the dangers of weavers in the cotton mills contracting infectious diseases from the practice known as...

Q-tip cruise

Q-tip cruise  n.—Gloss: a pleasure trip aboard a trip, taken mainly by senior citizens. Note: So named because they have white hair and resemble the white cotton ends of Q-tips. «It was in mid-September 2006, the final cruise of the season...