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Butter My Biscuits

Well, look what the cat dragged in! It’s another newsletter from A Way with Words. Given how often we talk about food words, we should write a cookbook. For example, this past weekend’s show was a leftover — a rebroadcast, a rerun, a re...

Eating the Frog

Do you start each day by "eating the frog"? Don't answer too quickly -- maybe you do and don't know it. "Eat the frog" means to do the most distasteful thing first. Imagine you were lost in the jungle and all...

A Mnemonic of Forget-Me-Nots

Hi, all! Our most recent episode is a favorite archive edition: "A Roberta of Flax," with funny collective nouns for plants, plus the game "Telephone," the use of "whenever" with reference to a one-time event, and...

A Roberta of Flax

We have collective nouns for animals, like “a gaggle of geese,” “a pride of lions,” and “an exaltation of larks.” So why not collective nouns for plants? How about a “greasing of palms,” or a...

Lunatic Fringe

In this week’s episode, “It was bright cold day in April and the clocks were striking thirteen.” Martha and Grant discuss their favorite first lines from novels. Also this week, palmer-housing, beanplating, meeting cute, bad...

Like It or Lump It

Downton Abbey, a program featured on Masterpiece Theater, provided a handful of colorful expressions that date surprisingly far back. “Like it or lump it,” meaning “deal with it,” is found at least as early as 1830 and takes...

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