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Steamed Bun

This week: Do you ever find yourself less-than-specific about your age? Listeners share some of their favorite phrases for fudging that number, like: “Oh, I’m 29, plus shipping and handling.” Also in this episode: • Since ancient...

Origin of Hello

The hell in hello has nothing to do with the Devil’s abode. The word is related to similar shouts of greeting, such as hallo or halloa. Several languages have similar exclamations, such as Swedish hej, which sounds like English hey. This is...

Sötnos

Sötnos, with an umlaut over that first o, is a Swedish term of endearment. Literally, it means “sweet nose.” This is part of a complete episode.

Swedish Pulmonic Ingressives

In northern Sweden, the word yes is widely communicated by a sound that’s reminiscent of someone sucking through a straw. It’s called the pulmonic ingressive. Linguist Robert Eklund calls this a neglected universal, meaning that...

Bike-Shedding and Tohubohu

Hi, all! In this week's archive episode, do you know the term "bike-shedding"? How about "tohubohu"? The former refers to being inappropriately focused on the minutiae of a project instead of the bigger picture (handy...

urine diversion toilet

urine diversion toilet  n.— «There, up a few steps on a tiled platform, sat a toilet unlike any I’d seen. Its pan was divided in two: solid waste went in the back, and the front compartment collected urine. The liquids and solids can...

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