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Is “Knight” Gender-Neutral?

A Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, woman serves on a committee that is choosing a new school. Some members propose calling their sports teams the Steel Knights. But is the term knight gender-neutral? This is part of a complete episode.

Are There Such Things as Perfect Synonyms?

Can words ever be perfect synonyms? No. Words can have approximate synonyms, but there are always shades of implicit and explicit meaning. Consider, for example, the terms butt and derrière. Although both refer to the same part of the anatomy, they...

Name-Letter Effect

Psychological research shows that when it comes to letters of the alphabet, people tend to like their own initials, perhaps because of a sense of ownership. This phenomenon is called the name-letter effect. This is part of a complete episode.

Origin of Jimson Weed Name

The plant jimson weed has dangerous hallucinogenic effects. The weed takes its name from Jamestown, Virginia. In 1676, settlers there ingested the weed, and its poisonous effects were vividly described a few years later in a volume called The...

Banana Bag

A caregiver in Calais, Vermont, says an elderly client insists on saying banana bag to mean a fanny pack. Banana bag is a term used by horseback riders to refer to a pouch that hangs by a saddle. This is part of a complete episode.

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