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Episode 1615

Takes the Cake

What do you call a long sandwich filled with lots of ingredients? Whether you call it a sub, a hoagie, a grinder, or something else entirely depends on where you’re from. And: Martha’s visit to an Alaskan reindeer ranch reveals why you...

More Tea, Vicar?

Following our conversation about the expression Excuse the pig, the hog’s out walking, and other phrases used an apology or mild reprimand for eructations, Robert in Jacksonville, Florida, emailed to say that when he lived in England, the...

Episode 1498

Dessert Stomach

Funny cat videos and cute online photos inspire equally adorable slang terms we use to talk about them. • Also, when a salamander is not a salamander, the story of an Italian term for a dish towel used halfway across the world, Bozo buttons...

I’m Gonna Cut Your Water Off!

A Kentucky listener wonders about the admonition I’m going to cut your water off, which she’s heard from parents disciplining a child, but might also used between adults. The phrase “to cut someone’s water off” has been...

Episode 1607

Old College Try

In just seconds, online text generators and chatbots can produce whole paragraphs of sophisticated prose. But what do advances in artificial intelligence mean for writers? What is lost and what’s gained when machine-writing replaces the work...

Episode 1590

Primary Colors

Centuries ago, monks who took a vow of silence developed their own hand signs, with hundreds of gestures, that are still in use today. Plus, how do speakers of different languages distinguish similar shades and tints of colors such as red, yellow...