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Rolling in the Deep

What does rolling in the deep mean, as sung by Adele? In her Rolling Stone interview from February, she traces it to British slang for close friends that have each other’s backs. This is part of a complete episode.

Eastern Seaboard, West Coast

Shadowdabbled. Moon-blanched. Augusttremulous. William Faulkner often used odd adjectives like these. But why? Grant and Martha discuss the poetic effects of compressed language. Also, African-American proverbs, classic children’s books, pore...

Sufficiently Suffonsified

What’s in a pet’s name? Martha and Grant swap stories about how they came up with names for their dogs. Also this week: Have you ever been called a stump-jumper? How about a snicklefritz? And what’s the last word in the dictionary...

The Thought Plickens

If you’re inappropriately focused on the minutiae of a project instead of the bigger picture, you’re said to be bike-shedding. Grant talks about that modern slang term and Martha discusses a word that goes way back in time, right back to...

Spendthrift Snollygosters

This week, it’s the language of politics. Martha and Grant discuss two handy terms describing politicians: far center and snollygoster. Also, a presidential word puzzle, false friends, spendthrifts, and a long list of 17th-century insults. So...