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Episode 1542

Baby Blues

A hundred years ago, suffragists lobbied to win women the right to vote. Linguistically speaking, though, suffrage isn’t about “suffering.” It’s from a Latin word that involves voting. Plus: military cadences often include...

Traffic Neckdown

Like Bott’s dots and cat’s eyes, the word neckdown comes from the language of traffic flow regulation. A neckdown is an extension of a curb that widens the path for pedestrians and slows moving vehicles. Also called curb extensions, bulb...

The Cat’s Pajamas

The cat’s pajamas, denoting something excellent, arose in the 1920’s along with many similarly improbable phrases involving animals and their anatomy or possessions, including the gnat’s elbow, the eel’s ankles, and the...

East African Proverbs

The stunning play “Our Lady of Kibeho”, set in Rwanda, includes some powerful East African proverbs gathered by playwright Katori Hall, such as “A flea can bother a lion, but a lion cannot bother a flea,” and “When two...

Above Your Raisin’

There’s a new kind of hamburger menu that involves pixels, not pickles. It’s that little stack of horizontal lines in the corner of a webpage that you click to see more options. You might use a hamburger menu while webrooming–that...

Black Elephants

Environmentalists have combined black swan with white elephant to form the term black elephant, meaning “something likely to happen that will have a detrimental impact.” This is part of a complete episode.

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