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Guess What

English is full of unusual terms, both old (eleemosynary, favonian) and new (flyaway, catio). Also, the Swahili term that means “sleep like a log,” the multiple meanings of the word joint, cowpies and horse biscuits, what it means to...

Vet Someone

What does it mean to vet a political candidate? The word “vet” comes from veterinarian, specifically the ones who would examine a horse before a race to make sure it was healthy and eligible. Similarly, one might vet a candidate to make...

Not My Pig, Not My Farm

How do you say “not my problem”? A listener shares his go-to: Not my pig, not my farm. It means the same thing as “I don’t have a horse in that race,” or “I don’t have a dog in that fight.” Douglas...

Cowpies and Other Slang

Cowpies, horse biscuits, buffalo chips, horse dumplings — why do so many names for animal droppings have to do with food? A caller wonders this, and whether the term cowpie would be an anachronism in a Civil War novel. This is part of a complete...

Words With K in Them Are Funny

Pickle, baboon, cupcake, snorkel, pumpkin, Kalamazoo—let’s face it, some words are just plain funny. But what makes some words funnier than others? Martha and Grant consider this question with an assist from Neil Simon’s play (and movie)...

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