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Episode 1560

Snaggletooth

Many of us struggled with the Old English poem “Beowulf” in high school. But what if you could actually hear “Beowulf” in the English of today? There’s a new translation by Maria Dahvana Headley that uses contemporary...

Is There a Tail in Telltale Sign?

Ten-year-old Alex, from Oceanside, California, wonders if a cat’s flicking tail inspired the expression telltale sign, meaning “an indicator.” The word is telltale, not its soundalike telltail. About 400 years ago, a telltale was a...

Episode 1574

Scooter-Pooting

Old. Elderly. Senior. Why are we so uncomfortable when we talk about reaching a certain point in life? An 82-year-old seeks a more positive term to describe how she feels about her age. And: a linguist helps solve a famous kidnapping case, using the...

Q and U Call it Quits

In a previous episode, five-year-old Quinn asked why the letter Q is so often followed by the letter U. A new children’s book seems to have been written just for her. Q and U Call It Quits is a funny story about the chaos that ensues for the...

Scooter Poot and Scooter Toot

Logan in Wilmington, North Carolina, says he and his friends have long used scooter-pooting to mean “going around having a good time.” Both scooter-pooting and scooter-tooting are colloquial terms for casual socializing, and are...

An Ansible

According to the Historical Dictionary of Science Fiction, an ansible is an “instantaneous communication device.” This is part of a complete episode.

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