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Episode 1580

Beefed It

The words tough, through, and dough all end in O-U-G-H. So why don’t they rhyme? A lively new book addresses the many quirks of English by explaining the history of words and phrases. And: have you ever been in a situation where a group makes...

Towns Named Backward

Remlap, Alabama and Trebloc, Mississippi are examples of ananyms — names formed by spelling a word backward, making them a kind of anagram. In the case of the Alabama town, it’s named after the Palmer family, and the Mississippi town is named...

Counting Time with One Mississippi

A Seattle, Washington, listener wants to know why, when marking time, we say “one Mississippi, two Mississippi,” as opposed to other states or rivers. In the United Kingdom, they’re more likely to say hippopotamus. Some people...

“Tang” Menu Mystery Solved

In a previous episode, we came upon a word mystery in a 1947 menu from Jackson, Mississippi, that mentions tang. The mystery has been solved! It wasn’t the drink, and it wasn’t the fish; it was Cudahy Tang, one of over a hundred knockoff...

AFPAK

AFPAK  n.— Note: A blend of AFghanistan and PAKistan. «In the two-front war that Washington is now calling “AFPAK,” there’s more head-scratching going on than is immediately visible. Yes, President Barack Obama last week...