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Quare, as in Peculiar

Theresa in Lyman, South Carolina, says her mother has long used the word quare to describe someone who is “odd” or “set in their ways” or otherwise “peculiar,” as in They’re the quarest people I’ve...

Episode 1531

Loaded for Bear

One way to make your new business look trendy is to use two nouns separated by an ampersand, like Peach & Creature or Rainstorm & Egg or … just about any other two-word combination. A tongue-in-cheek website will generate names like...

Pronunciation of “Oil”

Emma in Texas has a dispute with her dad over the pronunciation of the word oil. The Linguistic Atlas of the Gulf States records no fewer than eight different pronunciations of this word. This is part of a complete episode.

Both vs. Bolth Pronunciation

Benjamin in Seattle, Washington, was surprised when someone pointed out his nonstandard pronunciation of the word both as bolth. About 10 percent of respondents to our online survey said they pronounce the word both with an L sound in it. This is...

All the Ways to Pronounce “Bagel”

A middle-school teacher and her students in East Grand Rapids, Michigan, have a question about one girl’s pronunciation of the word bagel. Is this round yeast roll with a hole in the middle pronounced BAY-gull, BAG-ull, or BEG-ull? Although...


If you’re not feeling quite right, you might describe yourself as awvish. This dialectal term used in parts of Northern England may derive from a local pronunciation of the word half. This is part of a complete episode.

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