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Episode 1555

Mystery Drawer

Amid court-ordered busing in the 1970s, a middle-school teacher tried to distract her nervous students on the first day of class with this strange assignment: find a monarch caterpillar. The result? A memorable lesson in the miracle of metamorphosis...

Sophocles’ Friends Word Quiz

Quiz Guy John Chaneski would like you to meet Greek friends’ friends, all of whose names follow the pronunciation pattern of their pals. For example, Sophocles would like you to meet his friend who’s an expert on cephalopods, such as squid...

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...

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...