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Episode 1574

Scooter-Pooting

Old. Elderly. Senior. Why are we so uncomfortable when we talk about reaching a certain point in life? An 82-year-old seeks a more positive term to describe how she feels about her age. And: a linguist helps solve a famous kidnapping case, using the...

Turning Verbs into Nouns

Alan from Omaha, Nebraska, finds himself turning nouns into verbs, telling his daughter he’s glad she’s old enough to start to human and using jenga as a verb to refer to arranging items carefully, after the game Jenga, which involves...

Episode 1555

Mystery Drawer

Amid court-ordered busing in the 1970s, a middle-school teacher tried to distract her nervous students on the first day of class with this strange assignment: find a monarch caterpillar. The result? A memorable lesson in the miracle of metamorphosis...

My Word is Born

Michael from Sherman Oaks, California, says that as a teacher in New Jersey in the 1980s, he heard students saying My word is born, meaning “You better believe me,” and later shortened to simply word. The research of linguist Geneva...