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Episode 1450

Sweet Dreams

In deafening workplaces, like sawmills and factories, workers develop their own elaborate sign language to discuss everything from how their weekend went to when the boss is on his way. Plus, English speakers borrowed the words lieutenant and...

Smile Belt

The only time you’ll ever see the sun’s outer atmosphere is during a full solar eclipse, when sun itself is completely covered. That hazy ring is called the corona, from the Latin word for “crown” — just like the little crown...

Ifs and Buts and Candied Nuts

A middle school teacher in Flower Mound, Texas, responds to students’ protests and excuses with if all our buts were candied nuts, we’d all be fat for Christmas. It’s probably a variation of a phrase popularized by former Dallas...

Gradoo or Gradu

A Dallas, Texas, listener wonders if his family made up the term gradoo, meaning “grime” or “schmutz.” It’s definitely more widespread than that and may derive from a French term. This is part of a complete episode.

Proof in the Pudding

Have you ever offered to foster a dog or cat, but wound up adopting instead? There’s an alliterative term for that. And when you’re on the job, do niceties like “Yes, ma’am” and “No, sir” make you sound too...