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Other Meanings of “Brainstorm”

Marlena from Dallas, Texas, was surprised to see the word brainstormdefined in an old dictionary as “a violent, transient mental derangement manifested in a maniacal outburst.” That indeed was the sense of this word in the late 19th...

Episode 1556

Good Vibrations

Asthenosphere, a geologist’s term for the molten layer beneath the earth’s crust, sparks a journey that stretches all the way from ancient Greece to the author of Uncle Tom’s Cabin. Plus: What the heck is a dogberg? It’s when...

Not Only Gertrude, but Mabel, Too

Our conversation about women who use the nicknames Gertie or Gert as jokingly affectionate terms for each other, prompted a listener in Melbourne, Australia, to speculate that it’s a nod to Gertrude Lawrence, an English performer who rose to...

Not Today, Josephine

A North Carolina listener says that when he was a boy and asked for something at a store that his father didn’t want to buy, his dad would reply Not today, Josephine. The origins of this phrase are unclear, although there is a story that it...

Shoes on the Wrong Feet

A listener shares a story about the time his young granddaughter proudly showed off having tied her shoes. He points out that her shoes are on the wrong feet, but the granddaughter takes it literally, with amusing results. This is part of a complete...

Abilene Paradox

Ever been in a situation where a group makes a decision to do something, then later finds out that no one really wanted to do that thing in the first place, but everyone went along with it rather than rock the boat? There’s a term for that...

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