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On the Case

Happy Valentine’s Day, our sweet baboos! Here are some expressions of love public radio listeners will appreciate. We’re also giving you another brand-new episode, in which we talked about the results of our great knitted hat survey...

Brobdingnagian and Unabridged

Why do spelling bees use such strange words — often foreign words that almost nobody uses? Like cymotrichous, stromuhr, Laodicean, guerdon, serrefine, and Ursprache? We answered that question in last week’s episode — it’s what happens...

You Did It!

Happy new year and welcome to another A Way with Words newsletter! As you might have guessed by the subject line, you helped the show reach its fundraising goal of $25,000 — and you beat it! Thank you so much for your generosity and your vote of...

You Bet Your Sweet Bippy

Why do some puns strike us as clever, while others are plain old groaners? Martha and Grant puzzle over this question. Also, the difference between baggage and luggage, a royal word quiz, the “egg” in egg on, what to call someone who...

Cathead Biscuits

Ever eaten golden catheads for breakfast? Yum! A listener shares this Southern term for big, fluffy biscuits. Also, how did people greet each other before “hello” became a standard greeting of choice? What does it mean if someone’s...

Facepalm and Headdesk

Hello, language-lovers — This past weekend’s episode is a delicious re-airing of a show from last spring, tackling great catchprases, Fibber McGee drawers, autocorrected text messages, annoying verbal fillers (“um”) and a...

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