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Busted Melon

When writing textbooks about slavery, which words best reflect its cold, hard reality? Some historians are dropping the word slave in favor of terms like enslaved person and captive, arguing that these terms are more accurate. And raising a...

Frozen Rope

Where would you find a sports commentator talking about high cheese and ducks on a pond? Here’s a hint: both terms are part of what makes America’s pastime so colorful. • A government official in New Zealand proposes a new, more...

Origin of the Word Reggae

A New York City listener enjoys the music played between segments of our show, particularly the reggae tunes, and wonders about the origin of the word reggae. This musical form was popularized by the Jamaican band Toots and the Mayfield, and may be...

Seen From a Galloping Horse

Growing up in Jamaica, a woman used to hear her fashion-designer mother invoke this phrase to indicate that something was good enough, even if it was flawed: “A man on a galloping horse wouldn’t see it.” Variations include...

Crazy Crossword Clues

Should youngsters learn cursive handwriting in school? Plus, someone can be ruthless, but can that same person be ruthful? Which word refers to something larger, humongous or gargantuan? Also, funny newspaper corrections, a crossword quiz, Texas...

Wash-Belly

In Jamaica, the youngest child is commonly known as the wash-belly. In addition to being the youngest, the term can also connote that the wash-belly is lazy and spoiled. Frederic Cassidy traces this and other terms in his Dictionary of Jamaican...