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Episode 1444

Pink Slip

Politicians have to repeat themselves so often that they naturally develop a repertoire of stock phrases to fall back on. But is there any special meaning to subtler locutions, such as beginning a sentence with the words “Now, look…”...

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...

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?

When “Bad Writing” is Good

Ahoy! In this week’s brand-spankin’-new episode: Great gifts for language lovers, nerds vs. geeks, “tow the line” vs. “toe the line,” the slang term “poutrage,” and the crust in the corners of your...

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.

Reading the OED from A to Z (minicast)

Word nerd Ammon Shea quit his job as a furniture mover in New York City to spend an entire year reading the entire Oxford English Dictionary. The result, in addition to eyestrain, headaches, and skeptics’ puzzlement, was Shea’s new book...

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