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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...

Sleepy Sand

The medical term for that grainy stuff that collects in the corner of your eyes when you sleep is rheum, but why call it that when you could call it sleepy sand or eye boogers? This is part of a complete episode.

Neither Moss Nor Sand

If you can make neither moss nor sand of something, then if you can’t make sense of it. This phrase is particularly common in Northern England. This is part of a complete episode.

Even More Tourist Nicknames

A while back we asked listeners what they call tourists in their neck of the woods, and we’ve heard back about tourons, which combines tourist and morons, and in the Florida panhandle, folks from out of town are known as sand dollars for...