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Episode 1603

If Grandma Had Wheels

While compiling the Oxford English Dictionary, lexicographer James Murray exchanged hundreds of letters a week with authors, advisors, and volunteer researchers. A new collection online lets you eavesdrop on discussions about which words should be...

Grant Barrett

Gone Pecan

How did the word gay go from meaning lighthearted to homosexual? Also, why are elementary schools sometimes called grammar schools? Plus, imeldific, gone pecan, random Scrabble words, and the difference between borrow and lend. And the etiquette of...

Jabronie, Jaboney, Jambone

Who you calling a jabronie? And what exactly is a jabronie? (Or a jaboney, jadroney, jambone, jiboney, gibroni, gibroney, gabroney, jobroni, jobrone, etc.) Grant traces this playful insult, meaning a “rube” or “loser,” to the...

Books for Learning Latin

It’s never too late to start learning Latin, a language that will deepen your understanding and appreciation of English. Martha offers tips on how to begin: Getting Started with Latin, by William E. Linney, and Virent Ova! Viret Perna! (Green...