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No U Quiz

Inspired by Noah Webster’s spelling reform, Quiz Guy John Chaneski came up with a puzzle that involves removing the letter U from one word to form another. For example, what two words are clued by the following statement? “I used to live...

Etymology of Lieutenant

A listener in Montreal, Canada, asks: How do you pronounce lieutenant? The British say LEF-ten-ant, while Americans say LOO-ten-ant. In the United States, Noah Webster insisted on the latter because it hews more closely to the word’s...

British Zed and American Zee

Americans pronounce the letter Z like “zee,” while those in other English-speaking countries say “zed.” That’s because Noah Webster proposed lots of Americanized pronunciations and this is one of the few that stuck...

“Ch” Speling Reform

Noah Webster originally tried changing the spelling of hard ch words to begin with k, as in karacter, but the shift never caught on, as is usually the case with spelling reforms. This is part of a complete episode.