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Expressions from the Bible

What’s the common thread that connects the phrases pour out your heart, from time to time, fell flat on his face, the skin of my teeth, and the root of the matter? They all come from or were popularized by the King James Bible, first published...

Brobdingnagian and Unabridged

Why do spelling bees use such strange words — often foreign words that almost nobody uses? Like cymotrichous, stromuhr, Laodicean, guerdon, serrefine, and Ursprache? We answered that question in last week’s episode — it’s what happens...

Too Much Sugar for a Dime

Is the term “Oriental” offensive? Where do we get the phrase “not one iota”? Why do we tell someone to “take a gander”? And who coined the word supercalifragilisticexpialidocious?

One Language, Many Voices Exhibit

“Evolving English: One Language, Many Voices” is a new exhibit at the British Library in London featuring the earliest printed versions of Beowulf, the Wycliffe and King James Bible, and the oldest known example of written English. This...

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