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Do For a Spell

What do we mean by the expression for a spell, meaning “for a period of time”? It’s mere coincidence that this term is written the same way as the word spell meaning to “arrange letters to form words” or spell as in...

What a Strange Couple of Years It Has Been!

With your support, 2021 will be a pivotal year for A Way with Words. With your help, and by tightening our budget, through 2019 and 2020, we’ve managed to weather the pandemic while still increasing listenership both on the radio and by...

Car Blinkers

After we puzzled over a caller’s use of the term Jack Roses to signal a sudden shift in conversational topics, Christye from Abilene, Texas, wrote to say that when that happens to her, she says, You didn’t put your blinker on! The word...

One Hand Washes the Other

Wayne from Wayland, Massachusetts, says a co-worker was fond of the saying One hand washes the other and both hands wash the face. The saying suggests that working together, two can accomplish what one can’t. It can also connote the idea of...

Icognseeto Sniglet

On HBO’s Not Necessarily the News, comedian Rich Hall offered sniglets, goofy made-up words for things and ideas that don’t already have names, like aquadextrous, describing someone able to use their toes to turn off the bathtub faucet...