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Episode 1529

At First Blush

Book recommendations and the art of apology. Martha and Grant share some good reads, including an opinionated romp through English grammar, a Spanish-language adventure novel, an account of 19th-century dictionary wars, and a gorgeously illustrated...

Loanwords with Altered Meanings

John in Brattleboro, Vermont, is pondering words and phrases that change their meaning when they move from one language to another. For example, in Germany the English phrase public viewing doesn’t have to do with a wake, but a live sporting...

Laundry List

A caller in Hamburg, Germany, wants to know where we got the term laundry list. Grant explains that it derives from a time when people of a certain class sent their laundry out to be cleaned. It’s usually associated with a collection of things...

in the bag

in the bag  other.— «After a year training at Burnham Military Camp and in Egypt, he found himself in Crete and “in the bag,” as they called it, a prisoner of war on a bitter journey to the “hell camp” in Germany...

Nuremberg defense

Nuremberg defense  n.— «“I was only following orders.” It’s perhaps the most infamous explanation offered by military members accused of crimes, invoked by defendants from Nazi Germany to Abu Ghraib. Now, the so-called Nuremberg...

ageplay

ageplay  n.— «Prosecutors in Germany have started to investigate anonymous members of the virtual world Second Life after a German TV news magazine, Report Mainz, uncovered a virtual child sex pornography ring, where users would pay Linden...