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Episode 1571

When Pigs Fly

Don’t move my cheese! It’s a phrase middle managers use to talk about adapting to change in the workplace. Plus, the origin story of the name William, and why it’s Guillermo in Spanish. And a five-year-old poses a question that...

Episode 1560

Snaggletooth

Many of us struggled with the Old English poem “Beowulf” in high school. But what if you could actually hear “Beowulf” in the English of today? There’s a new translation by Maria Dahvana Headley that uses contemporary...

Episode 1524

Kite in a Phone Booth

Stunt performers in movies have their own jargon for talking about their dangerous work. In New York City, the slang term brick means “cold,” and dumb brick means “really cold.” Plus: the East and Central African tradition...

“Go West” Slang Origin

Liz from San Antonio, Texas, often sees the term going west in World War I-era literature and letters being used to refer to being killed in combat. The term go west as a euphemism for dying most likely has to do with the end of the day. J.R.R...

Building Coffee

In parts of the United States, the verb to build is used to mean prepare a food or beverage, so you might build a coffee or build a lemon pie. This use of to build appears in a lot of literature of the Old West. This is part of a complete episode.