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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...

Pronunciation of Gerrymander

A listener in New York City wonders about how to pronounce gerrymander, which means “to redraw the lines of an electoral district so as to favor a particular political party.” The term comes a joking reference to Massachusetts governor...

Stay Woke

The slang term woke, as in stay woke, arose among African-Americans to refer to being aware of social injustice or racism, and then doing something about it in one’s own life. This is part of a complete episode.


A boodler is someone involved in political graft or corruption. The word likely derives from Dutch boedel, meaning “property.” This is part of a complete episode.


In Spanish, mordida literally means “a bite,” but it’s a kind of bribe. It predates the English phrase “put the bite on someone” by more than a hundred years. One proposed etymology for the Spanish term is that divers...