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Roly-Polies

There’s another brand-new episode for you to catch up on, in which we talk about “sonker” (a kind of fruit cobbler), suss (is it British?), roly-polies (a bug which by any other name would still look like a tiny armadillo), and a big...

Like a Duck on a June Bug

Welcome to another newsletter from "A Way with Words"! In our latest episode, we talked about bird names, "like a duck on a June bug," overuse of the word "like," the expression of disbelief "Good night, nurse...

Elvis in a Cheese Sandwich (full episode)

What does dog hair have to do with hangover cures? Also, where’d we ever get a word like “dude”? And what’s the word for when unexpected objects form a recognizable image, like a cloud that looks like a bunny, or the image of Elvis...

Etymology of Slang “Dude”

Dude, how’d we ever start using the word dude? The Big Grantbowski traces the word’s origin—it’s over 125 years old. Here’s a poem about dandy dudes from 1883, the year the word zoomed into common use. Ben Zimmer at Visual...

Celebrate National Grammar Day

Hey, everybody! This past weekend's show was our tribute to National Grammar Day, which is Tuesday, March 4th. Among other things, we talked about "booby trap," the food dish "turkey Manhattan," "lock, stock, and...

B-train

B-train  n.— «According to the police summary of facts, at 6.57pm on October 8 Harrison was driving a fully laden truck and two articulated trailers—commonly known as a B-train—and was travelling west on SH29, Tauriko, towards the Kaimai...