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Trip the Light Fantastic

Have you been asked to trip the light fantastic? This phrase, meaning “dance the night away,” dates back to a poem by John Milton from 1640. This is part of a complete episode.

Bless Your Sugar-Coated Tell-All

First, a big welcome to our new listeners in Waco, Texas, where we'll be the public-radio airwaves there starting Sunday night at 9 on 103.3 FM, Waco NPR! If your local public radio station still doesn't air "A Way with Words,"...

Railroad Conductor Language

A trip to the California State Railroad Museum has Grant musing about the way language can change in the mouth of a single individual— in this case, railroad conductors. He recommends a collection of sound files from metros and subways around the...

Origin of Gaudy

Martha says her recent trip to Barcelona brought to mind a listener’s question about whether the word gaudy has anything to do with the name of the great Catalan architect, Antoni Gaudi. This is part of a complete episode.

Tweet, Tweet! Polly Wanna Cracker?

Hey, hey, hey! It's another fat newsletter from "A Way with Words"! We never run out of things to talk about. Take this past weekend's show, for example. We tracked down the history of "Polly wanna cracker." It turns out...