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Episode 1580

Beefed It

The words tough, through, and dough all end in O-U-G-H. So why don’t they rhyme? A lively new book addresses the many quirks of English by explaining the history of words and phrases. And: have you ever been in a situation where a group makes...

Psammakosioi

From ancient Greece comes this example of an indefinite hyperbolic numeral such as umpteen, zillion, and fifty-eleven: psammakosioi. Aristophanes coined this term, which was picked up by other ancient writers, and literally means “sand...

Too Much Sand for My Truck

Robert in Oak Park, Illinois, seeks a Portuguese phrase he once heard that a man might say when the object of his affection is out of their league or otherwise forever unattainable. This wistful phrase is Ela é muita areia pro meu caminhãozinho or...

Singing and Barking Sands

Singing sand refers to the roaring noise or boom produced by vibrations in sand dunes. Barking sand, which makes yipping noises when you drag your feet along it, is found along coastlines in Hawaii and elsewhere. These terms are discussed in more...

Joe with Cow and Sand

There’s nothing like some joe with cow and sand in the morning. That would be “coffee with milk and sugar” in World War II naval slang. This is part of a complete episode.

CASH

CASH  n.— «He soon found himself in a Combat Area Support Hospital—or CASH, as they call it. It was a dusty tent, covering a plywood floor laid out over sand.» —“This Pacesetter Soldiers On” by Joe Henderson Tampa...