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The Ugly Word

Sir Paul McCartney once wrote a song that included the phrase female pulchritude and luminosity. The word pulchritude means “beauty,” but why such an ugly-sounding word for such a lovely thing? Pulchritude derives from pulcher, a Latin...

Mac and Macaroni and Cheese

Is the word mac actually an acronym for macaroni and cheese? No, just a shortening of the full three-word-term. If it mac were an acronym, however, it would be a recursive acronym, or one that refers to itself. This is part of a complete episode.

If I Were Any Better I’d…

An Evansville, Indiana, listener says she responds to the question “how are you?” with a phrase she adopted from her grandmother: “If I was any better, I’d be twins.” There are several versions along these lines:...

Self-Referential Humor

“I feel more like I do now than I did a while ago.” The hosts discuss that and other examples of self-referential humor, like “Before I begin speaking, I’d like to say something.” This is part of a complete episode.