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Orts and Other Bits of Food

An ort is a small bite of food left on one’s dinner plate. Also known as the manners bit or manners piece, because some people consider it polite for guests to leave that last bite, which suggests that the host provided enough for everyone to...

Waffle Cornflake And Other Family Words

A listener emails to say that her nonagenarian mother adopted a special project during the pandemic. She compiled a lexicon of words and phrases used by their family when the kids were growing up in the 1950s and 1960s. The resulting 33-page...

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...

New Yale Book of Quotations

One of our favorite new reference works is The New Yale Book of Quotations (Bookshop|Amazon) edited by Fred Shapiro, associate director for collections and access at the Yale Law Library. This volume is a vastly expanded version of the previous...

Tons of UFO Snot

The documentary The Palindromists includes a scene with author, actor, and devoted palindrome constructor Danica McKellar showing off her favorite reversible creation: Tons of UFO snot. This is part of a complete episode.