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Episode 1530

Mrs. Astor’s Horse

“What has a head like a cat, feet like a cat, a tail like a cat, but isn’t a cat?” Answer: a kitten! A 1948 children’s joke book has lots of these to share with kids. Plus: an easy explanation for the difference between...

Storks Roosting in Our Language

In certain ancient traditions, storks were associated with kindness and family devotion. The Hebrew word for this leggy bird is chasidah, meaning “the kindly one,” from chesed, or “loving kindness.” Storks were also highly...

Episode 1526

Abso-Bloomin-Lutely

The autocomplete function on your phone comes in handy, of course. But is it changing the way we write and how linguists study language? Also, suppose you could invite any two authors, living or dead, to dinner. Who’s on your guest list and...

Episode 1523

Kids Are Asking

Questions from young listeners and conversations about everything from shifting slang to a bizarre cooking technique. Kids ask about how to talk about finding information on the internet, how tartar sauce got its name, and if the expression high and...

Lethologica

Lethologica is the inability to remember a word or name. The term is related to the name of the river Lethe, also known as the River of Oblivion, which in Greek mythology caused those in Hades to to forget their life on earth. This is part of a...

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