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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...

Impfneid, Vaccination Envy

The handy German neologism Impfneid literally means “vaccine envy.” It’s one of many German words coined during the COVID-19 pandemic. Neid in German means “envy” and Impf, meaning “vaccine,” derives from...

Unkept vs. Unkempt

Do you describe someone with a sloppy appearance as being unkempt or unkept? A garden that’s been neglected might be described as unkept, but when it comes to personal appearance, someone who’s disheveled is far more commonly described...

Bailiwick

A woman in Eureka, California, is curious about the term bailiwick. It comes from a Middle English word for bailiff, and wik, a Middle English word that means dwelling and is related to several English place names, such as Gatwick and Norwich. This...

Night Worries

Rare word fans: uhtceare, from Old English words that mean “dawn” and “care,” is a fancy term for those worries you fret over in the wee hours. Next time you find yourself lying awake at night worrying, try reading the...