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Episode 1539

Clever Clogs

Ribbon fall. Gallery forest. You won’t find terms like these in most dictionaries, but they and hundreds like them are discussed by famous writers in the book Home Ground: A Guide to the American Landscape. The book is an intriguing collection...

A Borrowed Day

An email from Sam Rittenberg in New York, New York, describes his mother’s use of borrowed day, a term so closely associated with her that her family had it inscribed on her tombstone. This is part of a complete episode.

Cathead Biscuits

Ever eaten golden catheads for breakfast? Yum! A listener shares this Southern term for big, fluffy biscuits. Also, how did people greet each other before “hello” became a standard greeting of choice? What does it mean if someone’s...

Train Away Verbal Fillers

Is it really possible to change your style of speaking so that you stop using the verbal fillers um and you know? Yes, you can. Martha relates her experience with dialect-coach-to-the-stars Sam Chwat. He was adamant that by catching ourselves every...

“And Them” Colloquialism

If Sam and them are going to be here after while, can the “and them” mean just one additional person? In some parts of the country, it could be Sam’s wife, or Sam’s entire softball team. A listener from Texas shares this...

A Fairy Tale Philtrum

What in the Sam Hill?! It's another newsletter from A Way with Words. Oh, man, when we have fun on the air, we have it in spades, buckets, and buttloads. This past weekend we took a quick look at whether old-fashioned fairy tales are too...