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Episode 1512

Bottled Sunshine

If you catch your blue jeans on a nail, you may find yourself with a winklehawk. This term, adapted into English from Dutch, means “an L-shaped tear in a piece of fabric.” And: What’s your relationship with the books on your...

Billy Tape Measure

Mary says her Illinois-born husband and father-in-law refer to a measuring tape as a billy. The word billy is used in a slangy sense to refer long lengths of metal, such a billy knife, and a Billy Box is a kind of toolbox, but the use of billy to...

Crazy Crossword Clues

Should youngsters learn cursive handwriting in school? Plus, someone can be ruthless, but can that same person be ruthful? Which word refers to something larger, humongous or gargantuan? Also, funny newspaper corrections, a crossword quiz, Texas...

Skeuomorphs

Why do we make a hand-crank motion when asking someone to roll down their window? After all, in most new cars, that’s done with the press of a button. An outmoded gesture like this is similar to a skeuomorph, a design element that still used...

Hundred-Mile Tape

In the military, a certain kind of duct tape is known as hundred-mile-per-hour tape because it can withstand 100-mph speeds. This is part of a complete episode.

A Walk Spoiled But Our Lie is Good

If English isn’t your first language, there are lots of ways to learn it, such as memorizing Barack Obama’s speech to the 2004 Democratic Convention. Martha and Grant talk about some of the unusual ways foreigners are learning to speak...