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Episode 1603

If Grandma Had Wheels

While compiling the Oxford English Dictionary, lexicographer James Murray exchanged hundreds of letters a week with authors, advisors, and volunteer researchers. A new collection online lets you eavesdrop on discussions about which words should be...

I Dub Thee “Weak Coffee”

Listeners are sharing their favorite terms for coffee that’s weak, including warm wet, branch water, pond water, scared water, and in the immortal words of Ani DiFranco, just water dressed in brown. One listener has a friend in North Dakota...

Episode 1534

Skookum

So you’ve long dreamed of writing fiction, but don’t know where to begin? There are lots of ways to get started — creative writing classes, local writing groups, and books with prompts to get you going. The key is to get started, and...

Pelay, Piler in Lousiana French

Growing up in Thibodaux, Louisiana, Ashlie was accustomed to using many Cajun terms, such as sha bébé, a version of cher bébé meaning “poor baby,” ya mom ‘n’ ’em for “your family and circle of friends,” and lagniappe, meaning...

Crash Blossoms: When Words Collide

This week, it’s headlines that make you do a doubletake, like “Child’s Stool Great for Use in Garden.” Martha and Grant discuss a few of these bloopers, also known as crash blossoms. Also, if you unthaw something, are you...

Gradoo

Gradoo is a word for something undesirable, the kind of thing you’d rather scrape off your shoe. A man who grew up in Louisiana wonders about the term, which he heard from both English and Cajun French speakers. This is part of a complete...