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Episode 1537

Bug in Your Ear

Is there something inherent in English that makes it the linguistic equivalent of the Borg, dominating and consuming other languages in its path? No, not at all. The answer lies with politics and conquest rather than language itself. Plus: a new...

1575 Episode

Not My Circus

Throwing cheese and shaky cheese are two very different things. In baseball, hard cheese refers to a powerful fastball, and probably comes from a similar-sounding word in Farsi, Urdu, and Hindi. Shaky cheese, on the other hand, is the grated...

Baseball Cheese

Paul from Omaha, Nebraska, says as a result of watching the College World Series in that city, he and his son wondered when sports announcers started using the word cheese to describe a pitcher’s fastball, and such variants as throwing cheese...

1389 Episode

The Big Cheese

Is it time to replace the expression “the mentally ill”? Some argue the term unfairly stigmatizes a broad range of people. Also, the winter sport of… skitching, which involves snowy roads, leather shoes — and car bumpers...

The Big Chiz

Calling a hotshot the big cheese comes from the word chiz, which in both Persian and Urdu means “thing.” This is part of a complete episode.