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Episode 1443

Criss-Cross Applesauce

How do languages change and grow? Does every language acquire new words in the same way? Martha and Grant focus on how that process happens in English and Spanish. Plus, the stories behind the Spanish word gringo and the old instruction to...

Chopped Liver

There’s a proverb that goes “beloved children have many names.” At least, that’s true when it comes to the names we give our pets. “Fluffy” becomes “Fluffers” becomes “FluffFace” becomes...

Monkey Blood

A Fort Worth, Texas, man remembers putting monkey blood on cuts and scrapes, and wonders about its name. It’s not really monkey’s blood; it’s a bright red substance more oftencalled Mercurochrome, a brand name of merbromim, or...

Busted Melon

When writing textbooks about slavery, which words best reflect its cold, hard reality? Some historians are dropping the word slave in favor of terms like enslaved person and captive, arguing that these terms are more accurate. And raising a...

Jump Steady

To transmit information during wartime, various industries used to encode their messages letter by letter with an elaborate system–a primitive version of today’s digital encryption. Grant breaks down some of those secret codes, and...