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Icognseeto Sniglet

On HBO’s Not Necessarily the News, comedian Rich Hall offered sniglets, goofy made-up words for things and ideas that don’t already have names, like aquadextrous, describing someone able to use their toes to turn off the bathtub faucet...

Mustard On It

When does a word’s past make it too sensitive to use in the present? In contra dancing, there’s a particular move that dancers traditionally call a gypsy. But there’s a growing recognition that many people find the term gypsy...


Need a synonym for “nose”? Try this handy word from a 1904 dialect dictionary: sneeze-horn. This is part of a complete episode.

Hot Mess

Sneaky contract lingo, advice for writing well, and preserving a dying language. Say you’re scrolling through an online transaction where you’re asked to read the “Terms and Conditions.” Do you actually read them or just check the...

Sneeze Confirmed the Truth

If someone sneezes while you’re saying something, a Yiddish speaker might say “G’nossem tsum emes,” or “The sneeze confirmed the truth,” meaning that what you just said is true, and the sternutation proves it. An...

Southern Scat Cat

“Scat cat, your tail’s on fire” is a fun variant of “scat cat, get your tail out of the gravy”—both of which are Southern ways to say “bless you” after someone sneezes. This is part of a complete episode.

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