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Episode 1497

Far Out, Man

What other names could a team use if they realize it’s time to give up calling themselves the “Redskins”? Also, what should we call those people who don’t turn left as as soon as the traffic light goes green? Plus, the...

Episode 1493

Gee and Haw

The highly specialized vocabulary of people who work outdoors, communicating with sled dogs, a word from the sport of rock-climbing, church key, browse line, smeuse, nitnoy, mommick, zawn, zwer, boom dog, and I think my pig is whistling. This...

Smeuse

There’s a word hole in a hedge or wall made by the repeated passage of a small animal. It’s called a smeuse. This dialect term from the UK is one of hundreds from Landmarks, a book of essays in which Robert Macfarlane seeks to reanimate...

Thank You, Ma’am, Road Bump

Following up on our talk about regional terms for a small, raised section of road, such as tickle bump and belly-tickler, Martha shares a passage from The Guardian Angel by Oliver Wendell Holmes, which references another term for that kind of bump...

Etymology of Cobble

A professional shoemaker in Columbiana, Ohio, wonders why the words cobbler and cobble have negative connotations, given that shoemaking is a highly skilled trade. The notion of cobbling something together in a haphazard or half-hearted way goes...

Hot Mess

Sneaky contract lingo, advice for writing well, and preserving a dying language. Say you’re scrolling through an online transaction where you’re asked to read the “Terms and Conditions.” Do you actually read them or just check the...