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Do You Call In Sick or Call Out Sick?

A Vermont listener says that if she has to be absent from work due to illness, she would call in sick. Her twenty-something daughters, however, use the phrase call out sick. Is this a generational difference, or a regional one, and is one more...

Episode 1591

Pushing the Envelope

Sure, there’s winter, spring, summer, and fall. But the seasons in between have even more poetic names. In Alaska, greenup describes a sudden, dramatic burst of green after a long, dark winter. And there are many, many terms for a cold snap...

Episode 1565

Lead On, Macduff!

For rock climbers, skiers, and other outdoor enthusiasts, the word send has taken on a whole new meaning. You might cheer on a fellow snowboarder with Send it, bro! — and being sendy is a really great thing. Plus: a nostalgic trip to Willa...

Do For a Spell

What do we mean by the expression for a spell, meaning “for a period of time”? It’s mere coincidence that this term is written the same way as the word spell meaning to “arrange letters to form words” or spell as in...

Other Meanings of “Brainstorm”

Marlena from Dallas, Texas, was surprised to see the word brainstormdefined in an old dictionary as “a violent, transient mental derangement manifested in a maniacal outburst.” That indeed was the sense of this word in the late 19th...