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Picket Lines

A Fort Worth listener wonders about a claim she saw in a 1930s magazine. The article said that traditionally, a picket line was an area between the front lines of two opposing armies where soldiers might safely venture out to pick berries without...

Pardon Our French

South African English is a rich mix of Afrikaans, English, and indigenous languages such as Zulu and Xhosa. Martha and Grant discuss some favorite terms from that part of the world, including lekker, diski, and ubuntu. Also, where’d we get the...

Large, Obscure Vocabulary

The hosts discuss Ammon Shea’s recent New York Times Magazine column about whether a large vocabulary filled with obscure and unusual words is all that necessary. This is part of a complete episode.


“You knucklehead!” Where’d we get an epithet like that? Grant tells the story about the wartime cartoon that helped popularize the term. Check out the adventures of R.F. Knucklehead in LIFE magazine. More about cartoons used for...