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Episode 1580

Beefed It

The words tough, through, and dough all end in O-U-G-H. So why don’t they rhyme? A lively new book addresses the many quirks of English by explaining the history of words and phrases. And: have you ever been in a situation where a group makes...

Toe vs. Tow the Line

A pair of listeners from Memphis, Tennessee, disagree about an expression that means “to conform to a standard” or “to adhere to a rule.” Is it toe the line or tow the line? The correct phrase is toe the line. Picture...

GUTs, Toes, and a View from the Cosmos

When theoretical cosmologists speak of GUTs and TOEs, they’re not talking about anatomy. GUT is an acronym for Grand Unified Theory and TOE stands for Theory of Everything. These are just two fun facts in the fascinating book The End of...

Pigeon-Toed Walking

People who are pigeon-toed walk with their toes pointed inward, also referred to as in-toe walking. Walking with toes pointed out is called out-toe walking, or walking duck-footed. This is part of a complete episode.

Pelay, Piler in Lousiana French

Growing up in Thibodaux, Louisiana, Ashlie was accustomed to using many Cajun terms, such as sha bébé, a version of cher bébé meaning “poor baby,” ya mom ‘n’ ’em for “your family and circle of friends,” and lagniappe, meaning...