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Episode 1585

Diamond Dust

Diamond dust, tapioca snow, and sugar icebergs — a 1955 glossary of arctic and subarctic terms describes the environment in ways that sound poetic. And a mom says her son is dating someone who’s non-binary. She supports their relationship, but...

Episode 1600

Go Bananas

A caller wonders if she’s being hypersensitive about the way her boss addresses her in emails. Can the use of an employee’s first name ever reflect a power differential? And: a community choir director wants a term for “the act of...

“Welcome in!” Instead of “Welcome!”

Merriwether from Santa Fe, New Mexico, works in the television industry, shopping for props in a variety of retail stores. In the last year, she’s noticed more and more workers greeting her as she enters not just with the word Welcome!, but...

Episode 1599

What in Tarnation

Language is always evolving, and that’s also true for American Sign Language. A century ago, the sign for “telephone” was one fist below your mouth and the other at your ear, as if you’re holding an old-fashioned candlestick...

Barge, a Bit of Older Santa Cruz Slang

When Sarah, of Yorktown, Virginia, moved to Santa Cruz, California, in her teens, she was intrigued by skateboard slang, particularly the use of the word barge to indicate “a challenging feat” or “a long distance.” This is...

Off We Go, Laughing and Scratching

After our conversation about Off we go like a herd of turtles, often said by a parent gathering kids to leave the house, Joanna in Santa Cruz, California, shares the one she heard from her father: Here we go, laughing and scratching! In 1939...