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Straw-Related Etymologies

The Spanish word for straw is paja. In Italian, it’s paglia, which also gives us the name of the opera Il Pagliacci, the Italian word for clowns. In the past, clown costumes were made of the same fabric used to cover straw mattresses. This is...

Now hiring a development associate

Public Radio Nonprofit Development Associate Summary Wayword, Inc., the nonprofit entity producing the nationwide public radio program A Way with Words, seeks an experienced development and fundraising associate to maximize our growing revenue...

Help A Way with Words cover costs!

We’re almost finished! We’re in the three-day final stretch of our 2011 campaign to support some of our necessary fixed costs. Read about it here. Can you help? Give a tax-deductible donation now! You can also send your donations by...

Antipudic

What do you call those convenient props in illustrations and movies that cover up the naughty bits? A listener remembers an old illustrated copy of The Emperor’s New Clothes that made clever use of twigs and berries for covering, well, the...

When “Bad Writing” is Good

Ahoy! In this week’s brand-spankin’-new episode: Great gifts for language lovers, nerds vs. geeks, “tow the line” vs. “toe the line,” the slang term “poutrage,” and the crust in the corners of your...