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Episode 1572

By a Long Shot

Imagine telling someone how to get to your home, but without using the name of your street, or any other street within ten miles. Could you do it? We take street names for granted, but these words are useful for far more, like applying for a job or...

Episode 1589

Deep-Fried Air

Eels, orts, and Wordle! Sweden awarded its most prestigious literary award to a book about…eels. The Book of Eels reveals the mysterious life cycle of this sea creature and its significance for famous figures from Aristotle to Sigmund Freud. Plus...

Pelion Upon Ossa

In The Professor and the Madman: A Tale of Murder, Insanity, and the Making of the Oxford English Dictionary (Bookshop|Amazon), Simon Winchester refers to piling Pelion upon Ossa, meaning “making a difficult situation even more difficult...

Do it for The Hwyl

The new movie Dream Horse tells a true story that takes place in a tiny Welsh village. A bartender tries to breed a championship racehorse and persuades her neighbors to chip in. They agree, they say, because they want to do it for the hwyl. The...

Episode 1450

Sweet Dreams

In deafening workplaces, like sawmills and factories, workers develop their own elaborate sign language to discuss everything from how their weekend went to when the boss is on his way. Plus, English speakers borrowed the words lieutenant and...