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Episode 1399

Upstairs Basement

Giving your baby an unusual moniker may seem like a great idea at the time. But what if you have second thoughts? One mother of a newborn had such bad namer’s remorse, she poured out her heart to strangers online. Speaking of mothers and...

Vet Someone

What does it mean to vet a political candidate? The word “vet” comes from veterinarian, specifically the ones who would examine a horse before a race to make sure it was healthy and eligible. Similarly, one might vet a candidate to make...

No Way, Jose!

What’s the source of the phrase “No way, Jose”? And who in the world is Jose? Grant says the expression doesn’t show up in print until 1973, contrary to the oft-repeated story that it appeared in The Village Voice during the...


This week’s word puzzle from Quiz Guy Greg Pliska involves taking a word, adding an “i” to the beginning, as if creating an Apple product, to get an entirely new word. For instance: “This is how Steve Jobs begins a card game...

Etymology of Yo

“Yo!” Why did people ever start using the word yo! to get someone’s attention? Grant explains that in English there’s mo’ than one yo. This is part of a complete episode.

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