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Keep Your Tail Over the Dashboard

This week, McGimpers, geetus, and other underworld lingo from the 1930s. Crime novelist James Ellroy stops by to talk slang terms and reveals his own favorite. Also, is the expression “Hear, hear!” or “Here, here!”? Is it...

Tam Hat

Martha tells the story of the creepy, spooky, surreal, and downright weird Robert Burns poem behind the name for that flat hat called a tam. Read it in translation here. This is part of a complete episode.

Word Encounters of the First Kind

There’s a frisson you get when you meet a word for the first time—feeling pleasantly stumped in between wondering, “What the heck does that mean?” and hurrying off to find out. Martha and Grant talk about some terms that had just...

Books for Learning Latin

It’s never too late to start learning Latin, a language that will deepen your understanding and appreciation of English. Martha offers tips on how to begin: Getting Started with Latin, by William E. Linney, and Virent Ova! Viret Perna! (Green...

fitting the flaps

fitting the flaps  n.— «Lip Synchronisation, known in America as “fitting the flaps,” is a means of ensuring that the sound of the words being spoken matched the lip movements of the onscreen speaker.» —“Lost in...

Texanisms

If you’re a Texan, you may be familiar with the phrases “raise the window down” and “help your plate.” If not, you’ll find translations here. This is part of a complete episode.