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Sneakers vs. Tennis Shoes vs. Trainers

How do you refer to rubber-soled athletic shoes? Are they sneakers or tennis shoes? Something else, like trainers? When canvas shoes with soft rubber soles came into use, they were so quiet compared to wood-soled shoes that one could literally sneak...

Categorical Allies Puzzle

Quiz Guy Greg Pliska has a puzzle called “Categorical Allies.” After he says a word, you must come up with second word that’s in the same category, and begins with the last two letters of the original word. For example, if he says...

Letters and Canadian Doubles (minicast)

In our latest online-only episode, Martha’s been putting together a collection of your favorite collective nouns and Grant joins her to swat around a caller’s question about what to call a game of tennis when you have only three players...

A Game of Tennis with Three Players?

Aloha! We have another A Way with Words podcast goofy-footing among the grommets. Martha's been putting together a collection of your favorite collective nouns and Grant joins her to swat around a caller’s question about what to call a...

moonball

moonball  n.— «From the extreme to the subtle, there was Torben Ulrich, the bearded Danish eccentric who found himself playing Bill Hoepner in the 1953 Pacific Coast Tournament at the Berkeley Tennis Club. Hoepner was intensely annoying...

dead rubber

dead rubber  n.— «In Davis Cup parlance, it’s called a “dead rubber,” which has nothing to do with the soles of the players’ sneakers. Andy Roddick having spanked Razvan Sabau in straight sets, giving the Americans an insurmountable 3-1...