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Nerd Amelioration

Nerd used to be a term of derision, connoting someone who was socially awkward and obsessed with a narrow field of interest. Now it’s used more admiringly for anyone who has a passion for a particular topic. Linguists call that type of...

Thousand Most Common Words

Try to explain something while only using the thousand most common words in English. It’s harder than you might think. This comic from xkcd points out the difficulty in describing a space ship called the Up Goer Five, and an Up-Goer Five Text...

Nerd vs. Geek

Books that make great gifts for language-lovers, the difference between a nerd and a geek, and talk about a new term, poutrage, and what do you call the crust in the corners of your eyes after a night’s sleep?

Geek or Nerd?

What’s the difference between a geek and a nerd? An Ohio professor of popular culture wants to talk about it. Here’s the a MetaFilter thread and a Venn diagram about the differences. This is part of a complete episode.

We Have Our Shortz On

Hello, friends — Good news! Our mini-podcast with Will Shortz is now on the “A Way with Words” site. Will created this quiz about anagrams and slang just for AWWW listeners. Give it a try: On to this week’s show: spoonerisms...