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You Want Vocal Fry With That?

Hellooooo, nurse! We have two recent brand-new episodes to share, plus some language news, along with a bit about what’s going on with us. First, on the show this past weekend we talked about eponyms, jo-jo potatoes, dog breed mashups, the...

A Roberta of Flax

We have collective nouns for animals, like “a gaggle of geese,” “a pride of lions,” and “an exaltation of larks.” So why not collective nouns for plants? How about a “greasing of palms,” or a...

Great Spellers

What do you call an expert speller? A “Words With Friends” enthusiast wants to know. Martha tells her that a great speller is called an orthographer or orthographist, from the Latin roots ortho- meaning “straight” or...

Typefaces in History

Pity the poor typeface designer, always seeing anachronisms in movies and television. Imagine how painful it must be watching a World War II movie only to see a document printed in Snell Roundhand Bold, a font invented in 1972. Here’s typeface...

weisure

weisure  n.— «The line dividing work and leisure time is blurring right before our eyes, says one expert, and it’s creating a phenomenon called “weisure time.”  Many who haven’t already abandoned the 9-to-5 workday for the...

quick-rinse

quick-rinse  n.— «Just what exactly is a “quick rinse” bankruptcy? Is it really a way to wash all that debt out of GM’s hair? Just take 30 days to untangle GM’s troubles? Coulter said he’d never even heard the term quick rinse until this...