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Episode 1510

Cootie Shot

Perfect sentences and slang that tickles your mind! A new book of writing advice says a good sentence “imposes a logic on the world’s weirdness” and pares away options for meaning, word by word. • Your musician friend may refer to...

Cootie Shots and ’Uku Shots

Elizabeth in Suffolk, Virginia, spent her early childhood in Hawaii, then moved to Indiana and found that kids had a different playground game that involved pretending to use a cootie shot to inoculate someone against imagined infection from cooties...

Hawaiian “Bumbye”

Joseph in San Diego, California, says that during high school he lived in Hawaii, where he picked up the word bumbye which means sooner or later or eventually. It’s probably a version of by and by. For a closer look at the language of Hawaii...

Spicy Jambalaya

Teen slang from the South, and food words that are tricky to pronounce. • High schoolers in Huntsville, Alabama, told Martha and Grant about their slang, including a term particular to their hometown. • How do you pronounce the name of that tasty...

Chihoo! A Samoan Cry

Rachel from San Diego wonders whether the exuberant Hawaiian cry chihoo! is onomatopoetic — that is, if the sound of the word resembles what it actually denotes. The cry is not originally Hawaiian. It’s a version of the Samoan war cry known as...

You Bet Your Sweet Bippy

Why do some puns strike us as clever, while others are plain old groaners? Martha and Grant puzzle over this question. Also, the difference between baggage and luggage, a royal word quiz, the “egg” in egg on, what to call someone who...