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Mikka Bozu

On our Facebook group, listeners are pondering whether there’s a word for buying an object and then using it for a completely different purpose — the treadmill that ends up as a clothes rack, for example. The Japanese expression mikka bozu, or...

Episode 1539

Clever Clogs

Ribbon fall. Gallery forest. You won’t find terms like these in most dictionaries, but they and hundreds like them are discussed by famous writers in the book Home Ground: A Guide to the American Landscape. The book is an intriguing collection...

Episode 1536

The Black Dog

Books were rare treasures in the Middle Ages, painstakingly copied out by hand. So how to protect them from theft? Scribes sometimes added a curse to the first page of those books that was supposed to keep thieves away — and some were as vicious as...

Episode 1523

Kids Are Asking

Questions from young listeners and conversations about everything from shifting slang to a bizarre cooking technique. Kids ask about how to talk about finding information on the internet, how tartar sauce got its name, and if the expression high and...