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Episode 1605

Big Bang

A savory Sicilian sausage roll is always a hit for the holidays. This dish goes by a long list of names that are equally delicious to say. Plus, why are those promotional quotes you see on the back of a book called blurbs? The guy who coined the...

Making a Wine Shop Out of a Raisin

In English, someone who’s making a big deal out of nothing is said to be making a mountain out of a molehill. Other languages use different fanciful images to convey the same idea. In Swedish, the image of someone is “making a hen out of...

Episode 1604

Snookums and Snicklefritz

A new book about how animals perceive their environment reveals immense worlds beyond our own. A bee can see ultraviolet light, catfish have taste buds all over their bodies, and manatees use highly sensitive lips to examine nearby objects. Also...

What a Hotsy-Totsy Tchotchke

The word tchotchke, pronounced CHOTCH-kee, means “knickknack” or “trinket.” Also spelled chotchkie or tsatske, this word was borrowed into English from Yiddish tshatshke, and is cognate with several words that mean...

Episode 1586

Mittens in Moonlight

Need a slang term that can replace just about any noun? Try chumpie. If you’re from Philadelphia, you may already know this handy placeholder word. And there’s Queens, Brooklyn, Staten Island, Manhattan, and … The Bronx — why do we add...

Episode 1585

Diamond Dust

Diamond dust, tapioca snow, and sugar icebergs — a 1955 glossary of arctic and subarctic terms describes the environment in ways that sound poetic. And a mom says her son is dating someone who’s non-binary. She supports their relationship, but...

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