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Episode 1532

Off the Turnip Truck

It’s hard to imagine now, but there was a time when people disagreed over the best word to use when answering the phone. Alexander Graham Bell suggested answering with ahoy! but Thomas Edison was partial to hello! A fascinating new book about...

Rhyming Name Cocktail Game

Quiz Guy John Chaneski has crafted a puzzle about cocktails with rhyming names. For example, in Jackson or Biloxi you might be served a libation inspired by the long-haired subculture of the 1960s. What drink would that be? This is part of a...

Episode 1447

XYZ PDQ

How often do you hear the words campaign and political in the same breath? Oddly enough, 19th-century grammarians railed against using campaign to mean “an electoral contest.” Martha and Grant discuss why. And, lost in translation: a...

Episode 1443

Criss-Cross Applesauce

How do languages change and grow? Does every language acquire new words in the same way? Martha and Grant focus on how that process happens in English and Spanish. Plus, the stories behind the Spanish word gringo and the old instruction to...

That Old-Book Smell

You walk into a used bookstore, or pull down an old volume at the library, and there it is: The smell of old books. If you detect notes of vanilla in that intoxicating scent, there’s a reason. Also, why some people think the word awesome is...

Buckle Down

It’s time for book recommendations! Martha’s enjoying an armchair tour of important places in the history of our language, and Grant recommends relaxing with books that make great reading for both children and adults. Plus, are you the...

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