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Latvian Vista

Martha has an example of a linguistic false friend: In Latvian, the word vista means “chicken.” This is part of a complete episode.

Political Language and Dittlers

Hiya, folks. It's another newsletter from A Way with Words! Aside from flagellating ourselves for the homophonic error in last week's newsletter (error is always in a hurry), we also aired a radio show and posted a minicast. The topics on...

A Whole New Ball Game

A listener from Texas heard an NPR report from Asia in which an interpreter translated a speaker’s words into English as “a whole new ball game.” He wants to know if that’s a literal translation from an Asian language, and if...


robeitis  n.— «Phillips noted that Wilkins is “always civil in his relationships with colleagues, courteous and respectful to members of the Bar, tough-minded in defending positions taken, but personally secure enough to change his...


mulligan  n.— «Conventional wisdom has held that drivers can afford one “mulligan,” which is NASCAR parlance for a damaging result. In the Chase era, no champion has finished outside the top 25 more than once. But that margin...

finger trouble

finger trouble n. a problem caused by a typographical error, incorrect settings on a machine, or poor manual dexterity. Etymological Note: This term appears to originate in aviation. (source: Double-Tongued Dictionary)

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