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Dashboards, From Wagons to Digital Screens

Gerald from Gaspee Point, Rhode Island, wants to know the story behind the term dashboard. Originally a dashboard was wood or leather placed at the front in horse-drawn vehicles to keep the driver and passengers from being dashed with mud, water, or...

Episode 1548

Yak Shaving

There was a time when William Shakespeare was just another little seven-year-old in school. Classes in his day were demanding — and all in Latin. A new book argues that this rigorous curriculum actually nurtured the creativity that later flourished...

What is a Strumpet?

Quincy works as a delivery driver in San Diego, Calfornia. His wife’s been teasing him that while she’s stuck at home, his job lets him go out having fun, gallivanting, and “running into the strumpets.” What, he wonders, is a...

Episode 1545

Baby’s Breath

Have you ever googled your own name and found someone else who goes by the very same moniker? There’s a word for that: googleganger. Plus, the language of hobbyists and enthusiasts: If you’re a beekeeper, perhaps you call yourself a...

The Music Truck

In response to our conversation about the expression ding-ding man, a term used mainly in Nebraska to mean “the driver of an ice cream truck,” Greg in Auburn, California, shared that he and his wife used to call that vehicle the music...

Quay and Key Spelling and Pronunciation

David, a rideshare driver in Virginia Beach, Virginia, wonders about all the residential developments he sees with names containing the word quay. Usually pronounced KEE, quay is another term for “wharf.” The use of quay in these names...