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Episode 1540

Tiger Tail

You may have a favorite word in English, but what about your favorite in another language? The Spanish term ojalá is especially handy for expressing hopefulness and derives from Arabic for “God willing.” In Trinidad, if you want to ask...

Episode 1442

Whistle Pig

The dated term “jingoism” denotes a kind of belligerent nationalism but the word’s roots lie in an old English drinking-house song that was popular during wartime. Speaking of fightin’ words, the expression “out the side of...

Suoods Upside Down

A member of our Facebook group posted a photo of a box that left him completely puzzled until he realized that if you look at the word spoons upside down, it spells suoods. This is part of a complete episode.

Happy as Larry

New research shows that you may be less influenced by superstitious behavior like walking under ladders or the magic of four-leaf clovers if you’re reading about it in another language. • Sometimes not cursing will catch someone’s ear...

Hunk Waffle

Decisions by dictionary editors, wacky wordplay, and Walt Whitman’s soaring verse. How do lexicographers decide which historical figures deserve a mention or perhaps even an illustration in the dictionary? The answer changes with the times. •...

Why Do Some People Get Bios in Dictionaries?

A listener in Albany, New York, wonders who decides which historical personages deserve mention a dictionary, and how editors decide which of those people merit a photo or illustration? Grant explains the process by which lexicographers handle these...