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Kyarn or Cyarn

A listener calling from the public library in Chowan County, North Carolina, says her father used the word kyarn to describe something unpleasant or repulsive, as in describing something that isn’t worth a kyarn or stinks like kyarn. Also...

Naming Heroin

Is it true that the drug heroin was once marketed to families? Yes! In the 1890’s, heroin, a substitute for morphine, was hailed as a tremendous help to patients with tuberculosis, a leading cause of death at the time. Heroin eased the...

Like Death Eating a Cracker

Digital timepieces may be changing the way we talk, at least a little. There’s Bob o’clock (8:08), Big o’clock (8:19), and even Pi o’clock. Also this week, what do you call that gesture with your fingers when you want to make...

Bless Your Sugar-Coated Tell-All

First, a big welcome to our new listeners in Waco, Texas, where we'll be the public-radio airwaves there starting Sunday night at 9 on 103.3 FM, Waco NPR! If your local public radio station still doesn't air "A Way with Words,"...

Happy Intergalactic Star Wars Day!

Happy Intergalactic Star Wars Day! May the 4th (Be with You)! Did we really just say that? Okay, on to our own latest episode: "Like Death Eating a Cracker" features silly ways to tell time, like Bob o’clock (8:08), Big o’clock...