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Episode 1580

Beefed It

The words tough, through, and dough all end in O-U-G-H. So why don’t they rhyme? A lively new book addresses the many quirks of English by explaining the history of words and phrases. And: have you ever been in a situation where a group makes...

tofu concrete

tofu concrete  n.— «The bodies of thousands of dead children were dragged from the rubble of Sichuan schools built on a base of what the Chinese call “tofu” concrete, chicken wire and unforgivable corruption, as builders grew...

turtle

turtle  n.— «A sewer is a slippery workplace. Water can move at the speed of oncoming traffic, even when it is not laden with tree branches, two-by-fours and the waste products known in the business as “turtles.”» —“Working in the...

encounter specialist

encounter specialist  n.— «The fabled and, sometimes notorious, sharpshooters of Mumbai Police—known in local parlance by their euphemism “encounter specialists”—are back in the news.» —“Mumbai’s Dirty Harrys are back in action...

boylesque

boylesque  n.— «“Boylesque,” as burlesque veteran and boylesque coach Dirty Martini calls male burlesque, has a long tradition of queer and transgender performance.» —“Dance on Film, Boylesque & Saved Gallery” by Ava...