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Pickle Seeder

Would you rather live in a world with no adjectives … or no verbs — and why? Also, who in the world is that director Alan Smithee [SMITH-ee] who made decades’ of crummy films? Turns out that if a movie director has his work wrested away...

Etymology of Fulsome

The word fulsome has undergone some real semantic changes over the years. It used to mean “excessive, overly full” in a negative way, but it’s come to have positive connotations for some, who think it means “copious” or...

Pipperoo

A swinging song by Glenn Miller and His Orchestra called “I’ve Got a Gal in Kalamazoo” drops the line “What a gal, a real pipperoo.” A homeschooling family in Maine wonders just what a pipperoo is. For one, the suffix ...

Blackacre

In real estate law, names like Blackacre, Whiteacre, and Greenacre are fictitious stand-in names for estates or plots of land used by attorneys when discussing hypothetical cases. This is part of a complete episode.

Noon Balloon to Rangoon

Is there a word you keep having to look up in the dictionary, no matter how many times you’ve looked it up before? Maybe it’s time for a mnemonic device. And: a listener shares a letter from Kurt Vonnegut himself, with some reassuring...

That Old-Book Smell

You walk into a used bookstore, or pull down an old volume at the library, and there it is: The smell of old books. If you detect notes of vanilla in that intoxicating scent, there’s a reason. Also, why some people think the word awesome is...

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