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Episode 1571

When Pigs Fly

Don’t move my cheese! It’s a phrase middle managers use to talk about adapting to change in the workplace. Plus, the origin story of the name William, and why it’s Guillermo in Spanish. And a five-year-old poses a question that...

Why is Q Followed by U?

Quinn from Excelsior, Minnesota, is five years old — well, five and three-quarters, as she points out. She wonders why the letter Q is so often followed by U. In Old English, the alphabet didn’t include the letter Q. The word quick, for...

A Skosh about Surfing and Tweets

Ahoy! We kicked off the new fall season of "A Way with Words" this weekend, asking, "How much humor and personality can you pack into a 140-character update? A lot, it seems. We discuss funny Twitter feeds, the origins of...

Words That Will Color Your World

Happy September! In this week’s archive episode, “Sailor’s Delight,” we talk about weather proverbs, pooflapoo pie, tricks for remembering how to spell difficult words, and alternatives to the word “mentee.” We...

amortality

amortality  n.— «You may not have heard of amortality before—mainly because I’ve just coined the term. It’s about more than just the ripple effect of baby boomers” resisting the onset of age. Amortality is a stranger, stronger...

Bangle-butt

Bangle-butt  n.— «BMW’s own Chris Bangle started making controversy with his “flame surfacing” design theme.…Other designers use the name Bangle as a term for a project gone wrong, and “Bangle-butt” has become...