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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...

He’s No Goat’s Toe

In Northern Ireland, a clever way to say that someone has an overinflated sense of his own importance is to say he’s “no goat’s toe.” This is part of a complete episode.

Dexterous Extremities

A Canadian listener’s boyfriend has a special talent. He can remove his socks, roll them up, and throw them across the room into the laundry basket, all with his toes. She says he has toe dexterity, but wonders if the word dexterous can apply...

When “Bad Writing” is Good

Ahoy! In this week’s brand-spankin’-new episode: Great gifts for language lovers, nerds vs. geeks, “tow the line” vs. “toe the line,” the slang term “poutrage,” and the crust in the corners of your...