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Episode 1581

Your Imaginary Boyfriend

We use the term Milky Way for that glowing arc across the sky. But how people picture it varies from culture to culture. In Sweden, that starry band goes by a name that means “Winter Street,” and in Hawaii, a term for the Milky Way...

Prisoners Use Dictionaries for Scrabble

After our discussion about dictionaries being the books most requested by those who are incarcerated, a former prison inmate calls to report that dictionaries are so popular in prison in part because they’re used to settle debates in Scrabble...

Prison Book Donation Programs

What kind of book is most often requested by people who are incarcerated? The book that prison inmates ask for the vast majority of the time is a dictionary. These books, as well as thesauruses, prove useful for mastering reading skills, writing...

Pokey Means Jail

Andres from San Diego, California, wonders: Why do we refer to jail as the pokey? The term, along with its variant pogie or pogey, likely goes back to a word for workhouse, a prison where people worked as part of their sentence, much like...

Episode 1542

Baby Blues

A hundred years ago, suffragists lobbied to win women the right to vote. Linguistically speaking, though, suffrage isn’t about “suffering.” It’s from a Latin word that involves voting. Plus: military cadences often include...