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Culture of Proverbs

Are we a proverb culture anymore? In a largely urban society, we’re not likely to immediately recognize the meaning of the saying between hay and grass, meaning “weak” or “feeble.” This is part of a complete episode.

White-Livered

The term white-livered, like lily-livered, can describe someone timid. But an old folk tradition, once common in the South, associates having a white liver or white spots on one’s liver with an insatiable sexual appetite. The terms white...

Plural of Cyclops

What’s the plural of cyclops? If you have a group of those one-eyed mythical monsters, your best bet is cyclopes, pronounced sye-KLOH-peez. This is part of a complete episode.

Raining Pitchforks

What do you call a fierce rainfall? There are lots of vivid terms in this country besides “it’s raining cats and dogs.” Some Americans say “It’s raining pitchforks and hoe handles,” or “raining pitchforks...

Earwigs

What is an earwig? Those skinny brown insects with pinchers coming out their backsides have a reputation in folklore for crawling through people’s ears and laying eggs in their skull. But really, earwigs are just simple insects that take their...

Life in the 1500s

If you get an email called “Life in the 1500s,” hit delete! Grant explains that the etymology provided is not entirely accurate. That’s what this show is for. Also, if you’re getting an email that says “Free Money...