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Episode 1569

Love Bites

The word filibuster has a long and colorful history, going back to the days when pirates roamed the high seas. Today it refers to hijacking a piece of legislation. Plus, the language of yoga teachers: When doing a guided meditation, you may hear...

Unkept vs. Unkempt

Do you describe someone with a sloppy appearance as being unkempt or unkept? A garden that’s been neglected might be described as unkept, but when it comes to personal appearance, someone who’s disheveled is far more commonly described...

Casual and Casualty Connection

Jason in Barre, Vermont, wonders if there’s a connection between the words casual and casualty. Both belong to a family of words involving the idea of falling, deriving from Latin cadere, to fall, and its past participle, casus. From the same...

Spendthrift Origins

Judy from Tallahassee, Florida, is curious about the word spendthrift, which means someone who spends money freely. The word thrift in this case means wealth, and is the past participle of thrive. A more obvious word that means the same thing:...

Smitten, Smite

A woman who is fond of the word smitten is curious about about the word’s origin. Smitten is the past participle of smite, so if you’re smitten with someone, you’re struck by them, metaphorically speaking. This is part of a...

Words Without “ING” Quiz

Quiz Guy John Chaneski presents a puzzle about homophones, in this case, words that sound just like participles that have lost their final “g,” like button and buttin’. The first clue: “Picture Vladimir Putin trying to catch...