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Keep Your Powder Dry

Shelby calls from Rockville, Indiana, to ask about the origin of the phrase keep your powder dry. Many people surmise it derives from words uttered by Oliver Cromwell, but there’s no recorded evidence of this. The phrase first pops up in the...

Ermahgerd! A Word Puzzle!

Quiz Guy John Chaneski’s puzzle this week was inspired by the Gersberms meme, and involves adding R sounds to book titles to create books with entirely different plots. For example what George Orwell novella would be about a horse, a duck, a...

Lord Byron on Language

Lord Byron continues to make readers think with these words about language: “But words are things, and a small drop of ink, falling like dew, upon a thought, produces that which make thousands, perhaps millions, think.” This is part of a...

Understanding Old English

In this week’s episode: Just how far back could you go and still understand the English people were speaking? We crank up our trusty time machine to find out. Hint: You’d probably have a tough time getting around in the eighth century...