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Episode 1603

If Grandma Had Wheels

While compiling the Oxford English Dictionary, lexicographer James Murray exchanged hundreds of letters a week with authors, advisors, and volunteer researchers. A new collection online lets you eavesdrop on discussions about which words should be...

Just the Kind of Hairpin I Am

Kathy from Wichita, Kansas, says her mother was a practical joker who’d laugh off her pranks by saying That’s just the kind of hairpin I am, which means “That’s just the way I am.” The phrase goes back at least to 1874...

A Wasper is a Flyer with a Stinger

Logan in Frankfort, Kentucky, says when he was growing up in the southeastern part of the state, he’d hear people using the word wasper for the insect most people call a wasp. This dialectal variant is common in Appalachia, along with wast and...

Episode 1602

Touch Grass

High school students in Alabama share some favorite slang terms. If someone tells you to touch grass, they’re telling you to get a reality check — but the last thing you’d actually want to touch is dog water! Also, the history of the...

If I Tell You A Hen Dips Snuff

We were invited by Huntsville, Alabama, public radio station WLRH to do a live appearance at the U.S. Space & Rocket Center. During the Q&A, a listener shared a version of the phrase If I tell you a hen dips snuff, you can look under its...