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Episode 1499

Truth and Beauty

Malamute, kayak, and parka are just some of the words that have found their way into English from the language of indigenous people in northern climes. • In the 1970s, some scientists argued that two quarks should be called truth and beauty. • The...

Episode 1532

Off the Turnip Truck

It’s hard to imagine now, but there was a time when people disagreed over the best word to use when answering the phone. Alexander Graham Bell suggested answering with ahoy! but Thomas Edison was partial to hello! A fascinating new book about...

Charlie’s Dead

Elizabeth from Cape Cod, Massachusetts, wonders why some people say Charlie’s dead to indicate to someone that her slip is showing. No one knows which Charlie this expression refers to. Similar euphemisms include it’s snowing down south...

Monday is Longer than Tuesday

A listener remembers her mother used to say, “Your Monday is longer than your Tuesday.” This phrase offered a subtle way to notify someone that her slip was showing. Other expressions convey that warning as well, including “Monday...