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Raining Pitchforks

What do you call a fierce rainfall? There are lots of vivid terms in this country besides “it’s raining cats and dogs.” Some Americans say “It’s raining pitchforks and hoe handles,” or “raining pitchforks...

Raining Chair Legs

When it’s raining cats and dogs, the Greeks say, “It’s raining chair legs!” Omniglot has many more terms for downpours around the world. This is part of a complete episode.

It’s in My Wheelhouse

What was your first word? Grant and Martha talk about how children acquire language. Also, if you say that something’s in your wheelhouse, you mean that it’s within your area of expertise. But why “wheelhouse”? And what does...

Devil’s Beating his Wife

It’s raining, it’s pouring, but the sun is still shining. Quick—what do you call that? Some folks refer to it a sunshower, and others call it a monkey’s wedding. But a woman says her Southern-born mother used a much more unnerving...

It’s Raining, It’s Pouring

“It’s raining, it’s pouring.” But what exactly is the “it” that’s doing all that raining and pouring? This question from a caller prompts Grant to explain what linguists mean when they talk about the weather...