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Episode 1527

Had the Radish

Your first name is very personal, but what if you don’t like it? For some people, changing their name works out great but for others it may create more problems than it solves. And: at least three towns in the U.S. were christened with names...

Appalachian Dialect Affirmed

Tennessee lawmakers have passed a resolution affirming that Appalachian English is a “fully legitimate dialect and most deserving of the respect afforded other dialects of American English.” This is part of a complete episode.

Episode 1432

Tennessee Top Hat

It’s hard enough to get a new word into the dictionary. But what happens when lawmakers get involved? New Jersey legislators passed a resolution as part of an anti-bullying campaign urging dictionary companies to adopt the word upstander. It...

Upstander

Plenty of people write to dictionary editors asking for words to be added. It almost never works. But what if politicians make a special request? To urge adoption of the term upstander, as in “the opposite of bystander,” to honor those...

Remembering Definitions

If you think back on all the words you’ve looked up in the past year, only to turn around and forget their definitions immediately, Martha’s New Year’s resolution sounds like a no-brainer: be a little more mindful, and take care to...

Episode 1415

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...