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Racing for Pinks and Pink Slips

Wendy from Charlotte, North Carolina, was baffled when a co-worker asked, Are you ready to race for pinks? The phrase racing for pinks refers to participating in car races where the winner gets ownership of a car, the pinks referring to the pink...

Episode 1586

Mittens in Moonlight

Need a slang term that can replace just about any noun? Try chumpie. If you’re from Philadelphia, you may already know this handy placeholder word. And there’s Queens, Brooklyn, Staten Island, Manhattan, and … The Bronx — why do we add...

Waffle Cornflake And Other Family Words

A listener emails to say that her nonagenarian mother adopted a special project during the pandemic. She compiled a lexicon of words and phrases used by their family when the kids were growing up in the 1950s and 1960s. The resulting 33-page...

Episode 1558

Your Two Cents

Astronauts returning from space say they experience what’s called the overview effect, a new understanding of the fragility of our planet and our need to reflect on what humans all share as a species. A book about the end of the universe...

Pour Over vs. Pore Over

Do you pour over a document or pore over a document? Although it’s tempting to assume that the phrase alludes to pouring one’s attention all over something (as if your vision was a substance), the correct word is pore, a term that since...

Episode 1397

Hard Words Are Hard

The SAT is changing things up, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing. Just because words like membranous are no longer in the verbal section doesn’t mean kids aren’t learning important vocabulary. And speaking of useful terms...