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Episode 1603

If Grandma Had Wheels

While compiling the Oxford English Dictionary, lexicographer James Murray exchanged hundreds of letters a week with authors, advisors, and volunteer researchers. A new collection online lets you eavesdrop on discussions about which words should be...

I Dub Thee “Weak Coffee”

Listeners are sharing their favorite terms for coffee that’s weak, including warm wet, branch water, pond water, scared water, and in the immortal words of Ani DiFranco, just water dressed in brown. One listener has a friend in North Dakota...

Two Bits and Pieces of Eight

Nancy from Berthold, North Dakota, used the expression two bits to mean “25 cents.” Her adult daughter had heard neither that expression nor the saying Shave and a haircut, two bits or the cheer Two bits, four bits, six bits, a dollar...

Ish and Ishy

Ed in Florence, South Carolina, remembers that when he was stationed at Grand Forks Air Force Base in North Dakota, the locals used a couple of words he’d never heard. They’d use “Ish!” as an interjection to express disgust...

What Does “Souge” Mean?

A North Carolina man moved to Grand Forks, North Dakota, and encountered puzzlement when he used the word souge to mean plunge into water or immerse abruptly. More often spelled souse, this term is more likely to be heard in the Southern U.S. This...