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Episode 1513

Howling Fantods

Are there words and phrases that you misunderstood for an embarrassingly long time? Maybe you thought that money laundering literally meant washing drug-laced dollar bills, or that AM radio stations only broadcast in the morning? • A moving new...

David Foster Wallace’s Turns of Phrase

David Foster Wallace’s book Infinite Jest includes many unusual turns of phrase, including nose-pore-range for something very close, toadbelly white for a particular shade of the color, howling fantods for the heebie-jeebies, and greebles for...

Myriad Of

Should you use myriad or myriad of? Actually, either is fine. Here’s what David Foster Wallace had to say about the question in his commentary for the Oxford American Writer’s Thesaurus: “[A]ny reader who’s bugged by a myriad...

Acting in Haste

The saying “act in haste, repent at leisure” is typically a warning that means “if you make a hasty decision, you’ll have plenty of time to mull over your mistake later.” It’s likely a variation of an older...

Wheel of Yew

Greetings! In last weekend’s archive episode, we wondered who thinks up those crazy names for paint chips. We also discussed “spam” and “gringo,” dashes and semicolons, the term “first annual,” and wearing...