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Episode 1605

Big Bang

A savory Sicilian sausage roll is always a hit for the holidays. This dish goes by a long list of names that are equally delicious to say. Plus, why are those promotional quotes you see on the back of a book called blurbs? The guy who coined the...

Making a Wine Shop Out of a Raisin

In English, someone who’s making a big deal out of nothing is said to be making a mountain out of a molehill. Other languages use different fanciful images to convey the same idea. In Swedish, the image of someone is “making a hen out of...

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...

Episode 1571

When Pigs Fly

Don’t move my cheese! It’s a phrase middle managers use to talk about adapting to change in the workplace. Plus, the origin story of the name William, and why it’s Guillermo in Spanish. And a five-year-old poses a question that...

Beefed it or Biffed It, You Fell Hard

Josh in Binghamton, New York, wonders about the slang term beefed it, meaning to “took a hard fall.” It’s probably connected to biff, often used in snowboarding and mountain biking, meaning “to fail” or “do badly...