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Hoarfrost

A caller from Veroqua, Wisconsin, is fascinated by hoarfrost and wonders about the origin of its name. Grant explains its relation to the English term hoary. This is part of a complete episode.

Slang Quiz with Ken Jennings

It’s “Slang for $500.” All-time Jeopardy! Champion Ken Jennings tackles his next logical challenge, the A Way with Words slang quiz. Ken puzzles over the meaning of brummagem and pluck of a pig, and tries to guess an usual meaning...

Etymology of Gringo

Theories about how Latin Americans came to use the term gringo as a disparaging word for foreigners. We can easily rule out the one about the song “Green Grow the Lilacs,” but what about the rest? This is part of a complete episode.

False Opposites Word Game

Quiz Guy Greg Pliska drops in with a word game called “False Opposites.” They’re pairs of words whose prefixes, suffixes, and other elements make them appear to be opposites, even though they’re not. For example, what seeming...

Pandiculation

Martha talks about a favorite Latin-based word: pandiculation. It’s a term that means “the stretching that accompanies yawning.” This is part of a complete episode.

steel monkey

steel monkey  n.— «This is where not being a sissy comes in. Steel monkeys as they are affectionately called, have to walk the steel girders in order to put the steel beams in place. They walk the beams a hundred feet in the air. One false...