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One-Armed Paper Hanger (episode #1518)

The emotional appeal of handwriting and the emotional reveal of animal phrases. Should children be taught cursive writing in school, or is their time better spent studying other things? A handwritten note and a typed one may use the very same words...

The “Meal” in Piecemeal

The word piecemeal means bit by bit. If you pay back a debt piecemeal, you repay it a little at a time. The -meal in piecemeal is an old term that means a measure of time or a specified portion. In Middle English, this element appears in several...

Care Package (episode #1511)

Sending someone a care package shows you care, of course. But the first care packages were boxes of food and personal items for survivors of World War II. They were from the Committee for American Remittances to Europe, the acronym for which is CARE...

Help Pronounced as “Hope”

Joe in Huntsville, Alabama, says an elderly friend consistently says hope to mean help. For more than a century, some speakers in parts of the Southern United States to drop the L sound before another consonant in words, which then affects the...

Whistle in the Dark

The language and melodies of military marching songs connect grown children with their parents who served, as do parents’ love letters from World War II. Plus, “running a sandy” describes an awkward love triangle and Northern Spy...

Copacetic

Brand names, children’s games, and the etiquette of phone conversations. Those clever plastic PEZ dispensers come in all shapes and sizes—but where did the word PEZ come from? The popular candy’s name is the product of wordplay involving...

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