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Picklebacks and Mountweazels

Martha and Grant talk about phrases you love to hate, like “Do you mind if I put you on hold?” They also talk about mountweazels, jakey bums, picklebacks, and step-ins. And which is the proper term: mothers-in-law or mother-in-laws?

Fish or Cut Bait

“Fish or cut bait.” What does it mean, exactly? Stop fishing and cut your line, or stop fishing and do something else useful, like cutting bait? This is part of a complete episode.

Might Could

A Charlottesville, Virginia, woman says her husband, a New Yorker, makes fun of her for using the expression might could, as in, “We might could go to dinner later.” The hosts talk about this and other double modals. Incidentally...

See A Man About A Horse

Stories From The Onion  In this week’s episode, Martha and Grant discuss not-to-be-believed articles about language from the satirical newspaper The Onion, including one headlined “Underfunded Schools Forced to Cut Past Tense from...

Cut to the Good Chapters

Boom! It's another newsletter from "A Way with Words." Get an earful of our conversation from this past week's show: pandiculation, doorknobbing, cotton-picking, enormity, on the QT, and more: Martha's got a foodie treat...


full-pay  n.— «Many colleges discount tuition an average of 30 to 40 percent. Still, by offering even a relatively small cut, colleges get students who pay a hefty price. “The full-pays are few and far between,” said Greg Eichhorn, the...