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Episode 1543

Goody Two-Shoes

She sells seashells by the seashore. Who is the she in this tongue twister? Some claim it’s the young Mary Anning, who went on to become a famous 19th-century British paleontologist. Dubious perhaps, but the story of her rise from seaside...

Style Guide Echo Chamber

A former copydesk chief points out the circular nature of dictionaries using citations from newspapers that in turn consult dictionaries and the AP Styleguide for questions of usage. This is part of a complete episode.

Polly Wanna Cracker?

A man who owns a parrot says that when people see his bird, they invariably ask the question “Polly wanna cracker?” He wonders about the origin of that psittacine phrase, meaning parrot-like. One of the earliest uses of the phrase so far...

mileurista

mileurista  n.— «In Spain, a generation of young people is entering the workplace with few benefits or protections, often moving between temporary contracts so that employers can avoid the country’s onerous employment laws. The media have...