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Outer Space Pangram

Many of the top entries in Wordsmith.org’s pangram contest had to do with science, including this one: In Kuiper belt, Pluto is judged as dwarf planet, vexing the status quo by making size count. This is part of a complete episode.

At Large

If a suspect is at large, he is moving about freely. The term at large, which comes to us via French from Latin, refers not to size but to distance. The phrase by and large, meaning “generally” or “on the whole,” derives from...

Caster Sugar

Eben, a chef in Lummi Bay, Washington, who blogs about food at UrbanMonique, is curious about the term caster sugar, which denotes sugar less fine than powdered sugar, but less coarse than the regular table variety. The name caster sugar derives...

Names for Big Mosquitos

In an earlier episode, we talked about those huge insects known as gallon-nippers.We heard from Dell Suggs in Tallahassee, Florida, who says he knows them simply as gallinippers. This term for a really large mosquito goes back to the early 1700s...

Stand Flat-Footed and Kiss a Turkey

Ever seen a bug so big it could stand flat-footed and kiss a turkey? Kathy from Greensboro, North Carolina, called to share some classic idioms her Georgia grandmother would use to describe bugs, like those gallon-nipper mosquitos and Chatham County...