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Higgs Boson

Among Grant’s word-of-the-year picks had to be Higgs boson, that fundamental particle of matter discovered by scientists at the Large Hadron Collider in Switzerland. This is part of a complete episode.


You know those dull sports clichés like “We came to play” and “He left it all on the field”? They’re called bromides. The hosts explain the connection between the tired platitude and the sedative called potassium...


A native of Southern Pennsylvania has always used the term macadam in place of asphalt. Martha traces the word from an old gravel road to the modern day tarmac. This is part of a complete episode.

Hypnagogic Startle

You’re falling asleep, then suddenly snap awake. There’s a term for that: hypnagogic startle or hypnic jerk. This is part of a complete episode.

Texting Improves Literacy

OMG, text messaging! It’s destroying the English language, corrupting young minds, turning us into illiterates. It’s probably shrinking the ozone layer, too. Or is it? In his new book, Txting: The Gr8 Db8, David Crystal offers a...

food shed

food shed  n.— «Noting that “(t)he premise of this method of adjusting exposure estimates is that varia tion in the pattern of distribution of the commodity across the population does not lead to significant differences in exposure...