Home » single

Tagsingle

Episode 1584

Sleepy Winks

It was a dark and stormy night. So begins the long and increasingly convoluted prose of Edwards Bulwer-Lytton’s best-known novel. Today the annual Bulwer-Lytton Contest asks contestants for fanciful first sentences that are similarly...

Why Are Some Competitions “Heats”?

Why do we use the word heat to denote a preliminary qualifying race? Hundreds of years ago, a single instance of heating something such as a piece of metal over a fire for metalworking was called a heat. Later that term was applied to “a round...

Nickname Stories

Following our earlier conversation about nicknames, listeners are still responding with stories about their own nicknames. Two of those show how nicknames sometimes arise from a single incident, then stick around for years. In one story, a girl...

The Best Worst Opening Lines

English writer Edward Bulwer-Lytton is best remembered for the first line of his 1830 novel Paul Clifford (Bookshop|Amazon). The novel opens with “It was a dark and stormy night …” followed by many twists and turns in a long...

Case Quarter in South Carolina

Jennifer in Andrews, South Carolina, is curious about the term case quarter, meaning “a single 25-cent coin — not two dimes and a nickel and not five nickels.” It’s heard mainly in South Carolina, particularly among African...