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In the Toolies/Tules

The Mexican Spanish term tules means “bulrushes” or “marsh plants.” In parts of California and along the Pacific coast, toolies or tulies refers to a place that’s in a remote area, or in other words, out in the sticks...

Off the Turnip Truck (episode #1532)

It’s hard to imagine now, but there was a time when people disagreed over the best word to use when answering the phone. Alexander Graham Bell suggested answering with ahoy! but Thomas Edison was partial to hello! A fascinating new book about...

Storks Roosting in Our Language

In certain ancient traditions, storks were associated with kindness and family devotion. The Hebrew word for this leggy bird is chasidah, meaning “the kindly one,” from chesed, or “loving kindness.” Storks were also highly...

A Word for the Fear of School

Sloane, a 12-year-old from Omaha, Nebraska, is a bit anxious about starting middle school in the fall and wonders if there’s a single word that means “fear of middle school.” There are some long, rare words for the extreme fear of...

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