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Walkie Talkie (episode #1541)

One of the most powerful words you’ll ever hear — and one of the most poignant — isn’t in dictionaries yet. But it probably will be one day. The word is endling, and it means “the last surviving member of a species.” The...

To Be in the Soup

Jennifer in Omaha, Nebraska, is curious about the origin of the phrase to be in the soup, meaning “to get into trouble.” This is part of a complete episode.

The Meaning of Endling

One of the most powerful and most poignant words you’ll ever hear isn’t in dictionaries yet, although it probably will be eventually. An endling is the last surviving member of a species. The story of its origin is a marvelous one...

Son of a Gun! – a Special Minicast from Grant

Grant shoots holes in a story that just won’t die that about “son of a gun” and babies born aboard sailing ships. Before you get started today, please go to to support the show. Podcast listeners like you will make the show possible in...

Bug in Your Ear (episode #1537)

Is there something inherent in English that makes it the linguistic equivalent of the Borg, dominating and consuming other languages in its path? No, not at all. The answer lies with politics and conquest rather than language itself. Plus: a new...

Beside Myself (episode #1535)

The new Downton Abbey movie is a luscious treat for fans of the public-television period piece, but how accurate is the script when it comes to the vocabulary of the early 20th century? It may be jarring to hear the word swag, but it was already at...

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