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Peanut Leg

Mara, a student from the Democratic Republic of the Congo now studying at the University of North Alabama, thought Google Translate rendered the French for “peanut butter” as peanut leg. Instead of using it to translate the French word...

Dictionary of Southern Appalachian English

The splendid new Dictionary of Southern Appalachian English (Bookshop|Amazon), edited by Michael Montgomery and Jennifer Heinmiller, is a greatly expanded version of the Dictionary of Smoky Mountain English (Amazon), edited by Montgomery and Joseph...

How Do You Pronounce “Palindromist”?

The Palindromists documentary explores a mini-controversy: How do you pronounce the word palindromist? Some people put the stress on the first syllable, but other people and reference works, including the Oxford English Dictionary, stress the second...

Episode 1546

Singing Sand

Cat hair may be something you brush off, but cat hair is also a slang term that means “money.” In the same way, cat beer isn’t alcoholic — some people use cat beer as a joking term for “milk.” And imagine walking on a...

Latibulum

The Latin word latibulum means a “refuge or hiding place of animals.” It derives from the same root that gives us the English word latent, meaning “hidden.” A 17th-century dictionary defines the now-rare English word...

Episode 1529

At First Blush

Book recommendations and the art of apology. Martha and Grant share some good reads, including an opinionated romp through English grammar, a Spanish-language adventure novel, an account of 19th-century dictionary wars, and a gorgeously illustrated...