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Biffy Outhouse Origin

A Tuscon, Arizona, listener is right to be skeptical when someone suggests to her that the term biffy, meaning “portable toilet,” is an acronym for Bathroom in Forest for You. The etymology of biffy has eluded researchers for years...

Episode 1552

Moon Palace

What happens in a classroom of refugee and immigrant youngsters learning English? Their fresh approach to language can result in remarkable poetry — some of which is collected in the anthology England: Poems from a School. Also, new language among...

Griph

A griph is an obsolete term for puzzle or enigma. This word’s etymology is a puzzle itself, although it appears to trace back to Ancient Greek griphos, meaning “fishing basket.” This is part of a complete episode.

Episode 1525

Niblings and Nieflings

How do actors bring Shakespeare’s lines to life so that modern audiences immediately understand the text? One way is to emphasize the names of people and places at certain points. That technique is called billboarding. And: Anyone for an...