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Virga

No need to ask your doctor about virga. That’s just the term for “a diagonal streak of rain that evaporates before it hits the ground.” It derives from the Latin for “rod,” and is related to virgule, a fancy name for...

Honored vs. Humbled

This awards season, many winners will say, “I’m humbled by this honor.” Ann from Burlington, Vermont, wonders: Shouldn’t they feel honored rather than humbled? What’s so humbling about winning awards? Grant argues that...

Generational Gaps

Does your vocabulary mark you as old or outdated? Certain words really indicate generational gaps, like chronological shibboleths. For example, are thongs panties or flip-flops? And what do women carry around — a pocketbook, a purse, or a bag? Your...

Not Those Thongs

Is it cool for parents to use their children’s slang? What’s wrong with the term illegal alien? Grant and Martha discuss possible alternatives. Yehudi refers to the mysterious character who holds up strapless dresses, turns the light on...

Monroe Piercing

Tell your Mom the sterling silver stud above your lip isn’t “that dumb thing.” It’s called a Monroe piercing, in honor of Marilyn’s famed beauty mark. This is part of a complete episode.

Who You Callin’ a Jabroni?

Yo! Who you callin’ a jabroni? And what exactly is a jabroni, anyway? Also, what do vintage school buses and hack writers have in common? Grant and Martha trace the origins of famous quotes, and a listener offers a clever new way to say...

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