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The Last Straw

In this episode, books for word lovers, from a collection of curious words to some fun with Farsi. • Some people yell “Geronimo!” when they jump out of an airplane, but why? • We call something that heats air a heater, so why do we call...

Yelling Geronimo

A man in Surprise, Arizona, wonders why people jumping into a pool sometimes yell “Geronimo!” The history of this exclamation goes back to an eponymous 1939 movie about the famed Apache warrior Geronimo. The film was popular on U.S...

Pig Latin

Grant and Martha discuss the L-word — or two L-words, actually: liberal and libertarian. They reflect different political philosophies, so why do they look so similar? Also, is the term expat racist? A journalist argues that the word expat carries a...

Worries of Failure Cause Flop Sweat

Someone who’s anxious about performing may break out in a flop sweat. The term comes from the theatre slang, where worries that one’s production is a flop may cause nervous perspiration. In the 1987 film Broadcast News, Albert...

Film at 11

For English speakers of a certain age, film at 11 is a slang phrase means “You’ll hear the details later.” It’s a reference to the days before 24-hour cable news, when newscasters would read headlines during the day promoting...

Flee Fly Flo

Wrapping up 2016 with words from the past year and some newsy limericks. Bigly and Brexit were on lots of lips this year, as well as an increasingly popular Danish word that means “cozy.” Also, Quiz Guy John Chaneski sums up the year in...