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Pick Your Brain

On our Facebook group, listeners had a spirited discussion about the expression I’d like to pick your brain, meaning “I’d like to get your advice.” It’s a metaphor for extracting knowledge, of course, but the literal...

What We Say When Smoke Blows Our Way

On our Facebook group, listeners discuss sayings that people use when they’re sitting around a campfire and smoke comes their way. Among them: I hate rabbits, I hate little white bunny rabbits, smoke follows the tenderfoot, and smoke follows...

Episode 1512

Bottled Sunshine

If you catch your blue jeans on a nail, you may find yourself with a winklehawk. This term, adapted into English from Dutch, means “an L-shaped tear in a piece of fabric.” And: What’s your relationship with the books on your...

Unusual Word for Ordinary Things

A teacher of English as a second language asks our Facebook group to name some unusual words for ordinary things. The group’s suggestions include winklehawk, which means an L-shaped tear in cloth, and diastema, which means a gap between...

Wharfinger

In our Facebook discussion about unusual English words for ordinary things, a listener points out the term wharfinger, which means someone who manages a wharf. This is part of a complete episode.

Episode 1506

Oh, For Cute!

A stereotype is a preconceived notion about a person or group. Originally, though, the word stereotype referred to a printing device used to produce lots of identical copies. • The link between tiny mythical creatures called trolls and modern-day...