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News from Planet Word

Hi, all -- In this week's episode of "A Way with Words": If you want to make a room cooler, do you "turn up" the air conditioning? Or do you "turn it down"? Also, "croaker" meaning a...

Puns in the Headlines

When President Barack Obama had the Oval Office redecorated in soft browns and beige, The New York Times headline read: “The Audacity of Taupe.” The hosts discuss how puns work, and what makes them clever. Martha recommends John...

deather

deather  n.—Gloss: A person who believes that one or more of the current health care proposals being discussed in Washington D.C. includes a “death panel” that would allow doctors to counsel patients about ways to end their own...

Wet Behind the Ears

Why do we say that someone is inexperienced is “wet behind the ears”? The hosts tackle that question, and discuss whether Barack Obama misspoke during the 2008 presidential campaign when he used a similar expression, green behind the...

quick-rinse

quick-rinse  n.— «Just what exactly is a “quick rinse” bankruptcy? Is it really a way to wash all that debt out of GM’s hair? Just take 30 days to untangle GM’s troubles? Coulter said he’d never even heard the term quick rinse until this...