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The Funniest Words

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)...

Go Golfing vs. Play Golf

For some golfers, the phrase “go golfing” is as maddening as a missed two-foot putt. The proper expression, they insist, is “play golf.” A longtime golfer wonders whether that’s true. This is part of a complete episode.

Deconflict

An F-18 fighter pilot worries that a term he and his colleagues often use isn’t a legitimate word. It’s deconflict, which means to ensure that aircraft aren’t in the same airspace. Grant reassures him that deconflict is a perfectly...

Kentucky Contestant on Slang This!

This week’s “Slang This!” contestant, from Cold Spring, Kentucky, tries to tease out the real slang words from the fake ones. Rubber-bands or herkies? An executive handle or a producer’s button? This is part of a complete...

rifle shot

rifle shot  n.— «Prodded by advocacy groups on both sides of the issue, members of Congress are considering various narrowly targeted proposals—”rifle shots,” in Washington parlance—to ease or tighten the limits on legal entry...

posthole

posthole  v.— «He said people who walk through deep snow without snowshoes, a process he called post-holing, without proper footwear could be setting themselves up for trouble.» —“Conditions tough for start of summer hiking...