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Episode 1442

Whistle Pig

The dated term “jingoism” denotes a kind of belligerent nationalism but the word’s roots lie in an old English drinking-house song that was popular during wartime. Speaking of fightin’ words, the expression “out the side of...

Stars and Garters

Novelist Charles Dickens created many unforgettable characters, but he’s also responsible for coining or popularizing lots of words, like “flummox” and “butterfingers.” Also, the life’s work of slang lexicographer...

Monkey’s Wedding

It’s the art of constructive feedback: If you’re a teacher with a mountain of papers to grade, you may find yourself puzzling over which kinds of notes in the margins work best. Martha and Grant discuss strategies for effective paper...

Catbird Seat

Online recaps of Mad Men or Breaking Bad can be as much fun as the shows themselves. So why not recap classic literature — like, say, Dante’s Inferno? A literary website is doing just that. And, you’ve heard about the First World...

What All Men Carry Riddle

A riddle in rhyme: What does a man love more than life /Fear more than death or mortal strife / What the poor have, the rich require /And what contented men desire / What the miser spends and the spendthrift saves/ And all men carry to their graves...

Baby Department

Why do department stores label their infants’ section “Baby” instead of “Babies’” à la “Men’s” or “Women’s”? For one, the Baby department includes more than just clothes;...