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Potato Riddle

“A riddle, a riddle, I suppose, a thousand eyes and never a nose.” Nothing shakes up the dinner table conversation like a good potato riddle! This is part of a complete episode.

Acetabulum

A dental student wonders about acetabulum, the anatomical term for the hip socket. Martha traces it back to the Latin word for “vinegar cup.” In ancient Rome, households had a vinegar cup on the dinner table for dipping bits of food. The...

Code for “Food on Your Face”

A listener in Washington, D.C., says that his parents taught him that when guests were over for dinner and a family member had specks of food on his face, the polite way to surreptitiously nudge him into wiping it off was to say, “Look...

Might Could

A Charlottesville, Virginia, woman says her husband, a New Yorker, makes fun of her for using the expression might could, as in, “We might could go to dinner later.” The hosts talk about this and other double modals. Incidentally...

Pope’s Nose

Ever sat down to a turkey dinner where someone offered you a bite of the Pope’s nose? That’s a name sometimes applied to the bird’s fatty rump, which many consider a delicacy. Martha and Grant discuss this and other terms for the...

Is There an Amiable Doctor in the Chiasmus?

Welcome to another edition of the A Way with Words newsletter. This week we talked about "see a man about a horse," one of the most popular search terms that brings people to our web site. Who woulda thunk it? And, of course, we gave...

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