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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 1549

Navel-Gazing

In 1971, when a new public library opened in Troy, Michigan, famous authors and artists were invited to write letters to the city’s youngest readers, extolling the many benefits of libraries. One of the loveliest was from E.B. White, author of...

Getting Doorknobbed

In an earlier episode, we discussed whether there’s a word for “a drawn-out leave-taking”– when, say, a friend says “goodbye” but keeps thinking of “one more thing” to say before exiting. Martha...

heteropolitan

heteropolitan  n.— «But now the metrosexuals are being elbowed aside. Here come the heteropolitans: men perfectly at ease with themselves, fathers who prefer nights in with their families to nights out on the tiles; guys who prefer shorts...

on memo

on memo  adv. phr.— «“Whether he was selling shoe laces or wine bottles or jewelry, you had that sense of credibility.” Mr. Esmerian, an early believer, gave Mr. Leighton jewelry “on memo,” or on consignment, to sell...

belt-buckle rash

belt-buckle rash  n.— «Belt-Buckle Rash is actually the result of many factors; snaps, zippers and even the abrasive effects of denim will also result in finish damage. However, the most sinister threat to an instrument’s finish is...