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Episode 1600

Go Bananas

A caller wonders if she’s being hypersensitive about the way her boss addresses her in emails. Can the use of an employee’s first name ever reflect a power differential? And: a community choir director wants a term for “the act of...

Episode 1577

Mystery Date

A librarian opens a book and finds a mysterious invitation scribbled on the back of a business card. Another discovers a child’s letter to the Tooth Fairy, tucked into a book decades ago. What stories are left untold by these forgotten...

Dressing the Bed Means Making the Bed

Janet calls from Aiken, South Carolina, to say that her father used to ask Have you dressed your bed? meaning “Have you made your bed?” The word dress likely derives from Latin dirigere, meaning “to straighten” or “to...

Surcy, Sursee, A Small Gift

Matthew from Columbia, South Carolina, is curious about the word sirsee, a small gift or knickknack. Scattered through much of the American South, this colloquial term is sometimes spelled as surcy, or any of several other variations. The word may...