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Episode 1600

Go Bananas

A caller wonders if she’s being hypersensitive about the way her boss addresses her in emails. Can the use of an employee’s first name ever reflect a power differential? And: a community choir director wants a term for “the act of...

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...

A Sign for Driving Apologies

We’re still on the hunt for the safest, most efficient way to apologize to another driver when you accidentally cut them off in traffic or otherwise inconvenience them. A listener shares an intriguing solution. This is part of a complete...

Episode 1572

By a Long Shot

Imagine telling someone how to get to your home, but without using the name of your street, or any other street within ten miles. Could you do it? We take street names for granted, but these words are useful for far more, like applying for a job or...

Road Buddies and Follow Johns

Imagine you’re on a long road trip. Is there a word for that other driver who sets the pace for your car mile after mile? Road buddy, perhaps? A Rhode Island caller says her family calls that driver a Follow John. Social psychologist Stanley...

Binders Meaning Brakes Origins

Jesse in Newport News, Virginia, is an auto-racing enthusiast who often hears announcers talking about a driver getting on the binders, meaning “to brake” when going into a curve. As early as the 1930s, the term binders has referred to...