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Episode 1591

Pushing the Envelope

Sure, there’s winter, spring, summer, and fall. But the seasons in between have even more poetic names. In Alaska, greenup describes a sudden, dramatic burst of green after a long, dark winter. And there are many, many terms for a cold snap...

Episode 1543

Goody Two-Shoes

She sells seashells by the seashore. Who is the she in this tongue twister? Some claim it’s the young Mary Anning, who went on to become a famous 19th-century British paleontologist. Dubious perhaps, but the story of her rise from seaside...

Nose Open and Bonnaroo

Jennifer in Chippewa Falls, Wisconsin, has been in recovery from substance abuse for 29 years now, and still recalls some of the slang she heard back in the days when she was using illicit drugs. Her ex-husband used to say Now you got my nose open...

Appalachian Dialect Affirmed

Tennessee lawmakers have passed a resolution affirming that Appalachian English is a “fully legitimate dialect and most deserving of the respect afforded other dialects of American English.” This is part of a complete episode.

“Beat the Band” Meaning and Origin

Whitney from Memphis, Tennessee, is curious about the origin of the phrase to beat the band, which describes something happening in forceful or energetic way. Although the origins of this Americanism are murky, it may refer to a time when every...

Episode 1521

Spill the Tea

If someone urges you to spill the tea, they probably don’t want you tipping over a hot beverage. Originally, the tea here was the letter T, as in “truth.” To spill the T means to “pass along truthful information.” Plus...