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Orts and Other Bits of Food

An ort is a small bite of food left on one’s dinner plate. Also known as the manners bit or manners piece, because some people consider it polite for guests to leave that last bite, which suggests that the host provided enough for everyone to...

What a Strange Couple of Years It Has Been!

With your support, 2021 will be a pivotal year for A Way with Words. With your help, and by tightening our budget, through 2019 and 2020, we’ve managed to weather the pandemic while still increasing listenership both on the radio and by...

Origin and Meaning of “Jawn”

When Audrey was growing up in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, in the late 1990s, it seemed that everyone around her used the word jawn as an all-purpose substitute for other words, as in I took my jawn to the jawn and we had a bunch of jawns...

Stranger: Shall I Play Mother?

One old sense of the word stranger means “a lone tea leaf floating in a cup of tea.” A longtime superstition holds that such a lone leaf means a stranger will soon show up at the door. In Britain, a host may offer to pour a cup of tea...