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Coup de Grâce

What is the proper use and pronunciation of the French term coup de grâce? Grant and Martha explain how the term has been twisted, both in pronunciation and meaning. This is part of a complete episode.

Thirty Purple Birds

A woman in Eau Claire, Wisconsin, remembers a ditty she learned from her mother about “thirty purple birds,” but with a distinctive pronunciation that sounds more like “Toidy poipel blackbirds / Sittin’ on a coibstone /...

The Thought Plickens

If you’re inappropriately focused on the minutiae of a project instead of the bigger picture, you’re said to be bike-shedding. Grant talks about that modern slang term and Martha discusses a word that goes way back in time, right back to...

Farsi Pronunciation of “Barf”

On an earlier show, Martha mentioned the Middle Eastern detergent called Barf. Martha shares email from listeners who say that although the word spelled the same as English barf, the Farsi pronunciation is somewhat different. This is part of a...

A Louse in a Wrestling Jacket

A California college student is campaigning for international scientific authorities to adopt the slang term hella as an official prefix indicating a huge number. Will he succeed? Also, how to pronounce niche, the regional terms doppick and nixie...