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Episode 1581

Your Imaginary Boyfriend

We use the term Milky Way for that glowing arc across the sky. But how people picture it varies from culture to culture. In Sweden, that starry band goes by a name that means “Winter Street,” and in Hawaii, a term for the Milky Way...

Följa John

Say you’re on a long road trip. Do you have a term for another driver who happens to be traveling the same direction and sets the pace for your car mile after mile? In an earlier episode, a Rhode Island listener left us wondering why her Swedish...

Overhauling Has Nautical History

In nautical parlance, if you slacken a rope by pulling in the opposite direction to separate the blocks in a block-and-tackle system, you’re said to overhaul it — the inspiration for the more general term that means to “change...

schluff

schluff  v.—Gloss: To temporarily dismount a bicycle and use it something like a scooter in a place where bicycle-riding is forbidden or unwelcome. «Sidewalk bike riding is like jaywalking—who among us cannot resist, once in a while or...

desire line

desire line  n.— «Note long ago, a friend told me about an intriguing concept called “desire lines.” It seems that when landscape architects lay out walking paths and trails in parks and other public spaces, they invariably...

whale eye

whale eye  n.— «When a dog turns his head away from you but his eyes are turned as far to the side as possible in your direction, the whites of his eyes take on that crescent shape. When a dog’s eyes take on this appearance, professionals...