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Episode 1507

Sundog

A clever pun can make the difference between a so-so phrase and a memorable one. The phrase “the last straw” refers to an old fable about too many items in a load, but it takes on a whole new meaning in a public-awareness campaign about...

Episode 1450

Sweet Dreams

In deafening workplaces, like sawmills and factories, workers develop their own elaborate sign language to discuss everything from how their weekend went to when the boss is on his way. Plus, English speakers borrowed the words lieutenant and...

Episode 1503

Piping Hot

The game of baseball has alway inspired colorful commentary. Sometimes that means using familiar words in unfamiliar ways. The word stuff, for example, can refer to a pitcher’s repertoire, to the spin on a ball, or what happens to the ball...

Homographs, Homonyns, Heteronyms

Jeff, a junior-high band director from Lafayette, Indiana, led a spring concert as part of the Bernstein at 100 celebration featuring work by Leonard Bernstein (pronounced BERN-stine or ?bərnstʌɪn) as well as composer Elmer Bernstein (pronounced...