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Episode 1557

Sock it to Me

In the 15th century, the word respair meant “to have hope again.” Although this word fell out of use, it’s among dozens collected in a new book of soothing vocabulary for troubled times. Plus, baseball slang: If a batter...

Someone Who is Always to Blame

Two close friends from Richmond, Kentucky, call to share their hilarious dispute about how to correctly describe the one of them who’s always to blame for something. Is she the fault default or the default fault? This is part of a complete...

Bad Vice and Vice President

Vice is a noun meaning bad behavior, but it’s also an adjective referring to an official who is second in command. Karen, a seventh- and eighth-grade history teacher in Waco, Texas, says her students wonder why. These two senses of vice come...

simming

simming  n.—Gloss: From “simulating.” «It took a room full of networked computers called a “render farm” to do in about 14 months what would have taken a single machine 16 years: churn out digital scenes precisely modeled after...

quench

quench  n.— «During a power test, the very last before collisions could start in the machine (to the annoyance of engineers), a fault led to a warming of the busbar. As superconductivity was lost, the temperature soared in a “quench...

watershed

watershed  n.— «Jargon watch: when people talk about “the watershed,” they mean the difference between 8 pm and earlier, when kids might be watching, and 9 pm, when if kids are still up, it’s their parents’ fault. Our...