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Episode 1604

Snookums and Snicklefritz

A new book about how animals perceive their environment reveals immense worlds beyond our own. A bee can see ultraviolet light, catfish have taste buds all over their bodies, and manatees use highly sensitive lips to examine nearby objects. Also...

My Little Snicklefritz

Allie in Decatur, Alabama, says her mother referred to an impish child as a schnickelfritz. This term for a “young rascal” is often used affectionately, and spelled any of several ways, including snicklefritz, snickelfritz, and...

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...

Just the Kind of Hairpin I Am

Kathy from Wichita, Kansas, says her mother was a practical joker who’d laugh off her pranks by saying That’s just the kind of hairpin I am, which means “That’s just the way I am.” The phrase goes back at least to 1874...

Episode 1586

Mittens in Moonlight

Need a slang term that can replace just about any noun? Try chumpie. If you’re from Philadelphia, you may already know this handy placeholder word. And there’s Queens, Brooklyn, Staten Island, Manhattan, and … The Bronx — why do we add...

Episode 1602

Touch Grass

High school students in Alabama share some favorite slang terms. If someone tells you to touch grass, they’re telling you to get a reality check — but the last thing you’d actually want to touch is dog water! Also, the history of the...