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Litotes

If you’re looking for a clever way to straddle the glass-half-empty line, try using litotes, or understated slights turned positive. For example, the guy you met for a blind date was really not unattractive. This is part of a complete episode.

Lunatic Fringe

In this week’s episode, “It was bright cold day in April and the clocks were striking thirteen.” Martha and Grant discuss their favorite first lines from novels. Also this week, palmer-housing, beanplating, meeting cute, bad...

Like It or Lump It

Downton Abbey, a program featured on Masterpiece Theater, provided a handful of colorful expressions that date surprisingly far back. “Like it or lump it,” meaning “deal with it,” is found at least as early as 1830 and takes...

Puzzles, Poetry, and Pooflapoo

Hi, all -- In this week's archive edition, we talked about "pooflapoo pie" vs. "Watergate salad," "more" vs. "most," "stalactite" vs. "stalagmite," weather proverbs, and tricks...

The Thought Plickens

If you’re inappropriately focused on the minutiae of a project instead of the bigger picture, you’re said to be bike-shedding. Grant talks about that modern slang term and Martha discusses a word that goes way back in time, right back to...

Anaheim, Azusa, and Cu-ca-monga!

All aboard! This week, a bit about the musical language of railroad conductors’ calls: “Anaheim, Azusa, and Cu-ca-monga!” Also, the origin of the military slang term cumshaw, tips for learning Latin, the influence of Spanish...

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