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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...

Fascinating Letters to an OED Lexicographer

Thanks to a project led by Professor Charlotte Brewer of Oxford University and research fellow Stephen Turton of Cambridge, you can now enjoy a trove of letters between James Augustus Henry Murray and his many correspondents during his work on what...

Where The Wild Thongs Are

Howdy! In our latest episode, we discuss why “he’s seen the elephant” means “he’s been in combat.” Also, a look at idioms, like the Spanish one that translates as “your bowtie is whistling.” And what...

Language Newsletter in Your Inbox

Greetings! In our latest show, we talk about an expression familiar to many African-Americans but little known outside that community, "I couldn't buy a louse in a wrestling jacket." Also, what does it mean if your dog is...