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Episode 1498

Dessert Stomach

Funny cat videos and cute online photos inspire equally adorable slang terms we use to talk about them. • Also, when a salamander is not a salamander, the story of an Italian term for a dish towel used halfway across the world, Bozo buttons...

Episode 1583

Made from Scratch

Enthusiastic book recommendations! Martha’s savoring the biography of Alexander von Humboldt, the 19th-century explorer, polymath, and naturalist who revolutionized our understanding of nature and predicted the effects of human activity on...

Abbiocco

Joshua from Jacksonville, Florida, has fond memories of long dinners in Italy that left him with a sense of abbiocco, an Italian word for “that drowsy, full feeling after a satisfying meal.” The Dutch word uitbuiken means “to sit...

Griph

A griph is an obsolete term for puzzle or enigma. This word’s etymology is a puzzle itself, although it appears to trace back to Ancient Greek griphos, meaning “fishing basket.” This is part of a complete episode.

Crime in Italy

The exclamation “crime in Italy” is a variation of criminently, or criminy, both euphemisms for Christ. This is part of a complete episode.

Eat the Grindstone

The books we love as children may influence our careers more than we realize. As a child, Martha was fascinated with stories of cracking codes, and Grant loved books with glossaries–not that far from the kind of work they do today. A caller...