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Episode 1580

Beefed It

The words tough, through, and dough all end in O-U-G-H. So why don’t they rhyme? A lively new book addresses the many quirks of English by explaining the history of words and phrases. And: have you ever been in a situation where a group makes...

Episode 1599

What in Tarnation

Language is always evolving, and that’s also true for American Sign Language. A century ago, the sign for “telephone” was one fist below your mouth and the other at your ear, as if you’re holding an old-fashioned candlestick...

Family Secrets Word Game

Quiz Guy John Chaneski brings a bunch of brain teasers that he calls “Family Secrets.” It’s inspired by the hit song “We Don’t Talk About Bruno” from the Disney film Encanto. What about the secrets other families...

Episode 1557

Sock it to Me

In the 15th century, the word respair meant “to have hope again.” Although this word fell out of use, it’s among dozens collected in a new book of soothing vocabulary for troubled times. Plus, baseball slang: If a batter...

Adynatons from Stevie Wonder

Stevie Wonder’s 1976 hit “As” includes a long list of adynatons, those fanciful statements about impossible events that are used for rhetorical effect. This is part of a complete episode.