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Episode 1603

If Grandma Had Wheels

While compiling the Oxford English Dictionary, lexicographer James Murray exchanged hundreds of letters a week with authors, advisors, and volunteer researchers. A new collection online lets you eavesdrop on discussions about which words should be...

“Shingles” Comes from Latin

The painful condition called shingles takes its name from Latin cingulum, meaning belt, because the inflammation often appears as a belt-like band around the torso. The Latin root of cingulum, cingere, meaning to gird, is also the source of cinch, a...

strap hanging

strap hanging  n.— «Usually the truck drivers wait at the opening of the valley for a U.S. Army patrol to pass and then they follow it, a practice soldiers have dubbed “strap hanging.” Lining the sides of the road are the...

geek strap

geek strap  n.— «“I myself use a ‘geek strap,’” Ambelang said. “It’s good preventative maintenance for keeping your clothes intact.” A “geek strap,” as Ambelang calls it, is a lower-leg guard specifically designed to prevent shredded...

Greyjing

Greyjing  n.— «When it was announced in 2001 that the 2008 Games were to be hosted by Beijing, or as many are referred to it “Greyjing,” drastic action was undertaken to improved its smoky image—it’s just not sport when...