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Left in the Lurch

A restaurant manager in Kokomo, Indiana, had an employee who failed to show up for work. This left him wondering about the phrase left in the lurch. It probably derives from an old game similar to backgammon called lourche, the object of which is to...

Episode 1557

Sock it to Me

In the 15th century, the word respair meant “to have hope again.” Although this word fell out of use, it’s among dozens collected in a new book of soothing vocabulary for troubled times. Plus, baseball slang: If a batter...

Tiffin Meal

Nick from San Antonio, Texas, says his father used to use the word tiffin to denote a meal or snack made of leftovers. It’s a word borrowed from Indian English which was itself borrowed from the English verb tiff, which means “to eat or...

Episode 1523

Kids Are Asking

Questions from young listeners and conversations about everything from shifting slang to a bizarre cooking technique. Kids ask about how to talk about finding information on the internet, how tartar sauce got its name, and if the expression high and...

Spicy Jambalaya

Teen slang from the South, and food words that are tricky to pronounce. • High schoolers in Huntsville, Alabama, told Martha and Grant about their slang, including a term particular to their hometown. • How do you pronounce the name of that tasty...