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Episode 1574

Scooter-Pooting

Old. Elderly. Senior. Why are we so uncomfortable when we talk about reaching a certain point in life? An 82-year-old seeks a more positive term to describe how she feels about her age. And: a linguist helps solve a famous kidnapping case, using the...

Quizzer Guesser

Quiz Guy John Chaneski wants you to think of two-word phrases in which both words end in the letters ER. For example, engineer Lonnie Johnson invented a popular toy that might be described as “an overachieving water gun.” What is it...

Loyalty and Monogamy

Kristin, a college professor in Dubuque, Iowa, teaches a class in the U.S. history of sexuality. She’s intrigued by the way her students increasingly use the word loyalty as a synonym for monogamy. Perhaps the word monogamy sounds more...

Fastuous

The English adjective fastuous comes from Latin fastuosus, meaning “proud or haughty,” and applies to someone who is “characterized by excessive pride, vanity, or self-importance.” Fastuosity refers to “an ostentatious...

Weeds Widow

Jeannie in Spring Branch, Texas, says her grandmother, who far outlived her husband, described herself as a weeds widow. Since this term is extremely rare, it’s possible her grandmother conflated the terms widows weeds and grass widow. The...

Shaving Yak Hair

Greg in San Antonio, Texas, who works in the tech industry, says he and his co-workers use the phrase shaving yak hair to describe a monotonous, tedious task. The phrase was inspired by a 1991 segment of The Ren and Stimpy Show, in which the title...