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Sophocles’ Friends Word Quiz

Quiz Guy John Chaneski would like you to meet Greek friends’ friends, all of whose names follow the pronunciation pattern of their pals. For example, Sophocles would like you to meet his friend who’s an expert on cephalopods, such as squid...

Pronouncing “Aegis”

A voicemail from a Hawaii listener leads to a discussion of the correct pronunciation for Aegis, a naval combat system. Is it EE-jiss or AY-jiss? In Greek myth, an aegis was a protective shield, and today, to be under the aegis means to be...

Episode 1540

Tiger Tail

You may have a favorite word in English, but what about your favorite in another language? The Spanish term ojalá is especially handy for expressing hopefulness and derives from Arabic for “God willing.” In Trinidad, if you want to ask...

Seditty, Saddity

Semby from Los Angeles, California, wants to know about the term saditty, also spelled seditty, which refers to someone who is stuck up or puts on airs. Used almost exclusively among African Americans, this term may simply be a fancy pronunciation...

Episode 1536

The Black Dog

Books were rare treasures in the Middle Ages, painstakingly copied out by hand. So how to protect them from theft? Scribes sometimes added a curse to the first page of those books that was supposed to keep thieves away — and some were as vicious as...