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Smiles and Dials

Metal detecting hobbyists who love tweaking their detecting devices are jokingly described by their peers as dials and smiles. This is part of a complete episode.

Open Book Rock Formation

An open book is a rock formation that looks just like its name. This specialized term is one of hundreds collected and explained in the book Home Ground: A Guide to the American Landscape. Such a rock formation is also called a dihedral. This is...

Episode 1524

Kite in a Phone Booth

Stunt performers in movies have their own jargon for talking about their dangerous work. In New York City, the slang term brick means “cold,” and dumb brick means “really cold.” Plus: the East and Central African tradition...


If you have an aversion to human company and a love of solitude, you have apanthropy, from Greek words that mean “away from humans.” This is part of a complete episode.


On our Facebook group, Brett asks: “What do you call a society run by rabbits?” A carrotocracy? How about a whatsupdocracy? This is part of a complete episode.

Set of Twins

If you tell someone you have a set of twins, does that mean you have two kids or four kids? It depends on the meaning of the word set. This is part of a complete episode.