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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 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...

Episode 1566

No Cap, No Lie

We take our voices for granted, but it’s truly miraculous that we communicate complex thoughts simply by moving our mouths while exhaling. A fascinating new book reveals the science, history, and linguistics involved in human speech. And...

Episode 1585

Diamond Dust

Diamond dust, tapioca snow, and sugar icebergs — a 1955 glossary of arctic and subarctic terms describes the environment in ways that sound poetic. And a mom says her son is dating someone who’s non-binary. She supports their relationship, but...

Cutting Cots

Following up on our earlier conversation about the correct pronunciation of apricot, a listener who grew up among the apricot orchards of California’s Santa Clara Valley says the locals there pronounce it simply cot, and would speak of getting...

Episode 1558

Your Two Cents

Astronauts returning from space say they experience what’s called the overview effect, a new understanding of the fragility of our planet and our need to reflect on what humans all share as a species. A book about the end of the universe...