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You Bet Your Sweet Bippy

Why do some puns strike us as clever, while others are plain old groaners? Martha and Grant puzzle over this question. Also, the difference between baggage and luggage, a royal word quiz, the “egg” in egg on, what to call someone who...

Bah, Humblebrag!

What’s your choice for the 2011 word of the year? Grant shares some of his picks. Speaking of picks, why do football commentators seem to love the term pick-six? Also, great quotations from writers, the meaning of such Briticisms as cheeky and...

Football Jargon

Football, like most sports, brings its own set of idioms and jargon that ride the line between cleverness and cliche. The adjective multiple describes a player, an offense or defense, or even a whole team that has multiple threats or talents. And a...

You Want Vocal Fry With That?

Hellooooo, nurse! We have two recent brand-new episodes to share, plus some language news, along with a bit about what’s going on with us. First, on the show this past weekend we talked about eponyms, jo-jo potatoes, dog breed mashups, the...

Butter My Biscuits

Well, look what the cat dragged in! It’s another newsletter from A Way with Words. Given how often we talk about food words, we should write a cookbook. For example, this past weekend’s show was a leftover — a rebroadcast, a rerun, a re...

Cathead Biscuits

Ever eaten golden catheads for breakfast? Yum! A listener shares this Southern term for big, fluffy biscuits. Also, how did people greet each other before “hello” became a standard greeting of choice? What does it mean if someone’s...