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Episode 1604

Snookums and Snicklefritz

A new book about how animals perceive their environment reveals immense worlds beyond our own. A bee can see ultraviolet light, catfish have taste buds all over their bodies, and manatees use highly sensitive lips to examine nearby objects. Also...

An Outfit with Four Wheels and a V8

Jack from Sentinel Butte, North Dakota, observes that in his part of the country, the word outfit can have any of several meanings. Buying a new outfit doesn’t necessarily mean “buying a new set of clothes.” It could well refer to...

Episode 1603

If Grandma Had Wheels

While compiling the Oxford English Dictionary, lexicographer James Murray exchanged hundreds of letters a week with authors, advisors, and volunteer researchers. A new collection online lets you eavesdrop on discussions about which words should be...

Junk in the Frunk

In an electric car, the trunk is in the front, not the back. Automotive engineers refer to this part of the vehicle as the frunk, a portmanteau of front and trunk. For a while, the Jaguar company, which is based in the UK, instead called it the...

Cark

Cark is a noun meaning “worry” or “trouble.” As a verb, cark means “to cause worry or distress,” as in to have carking doubts. This word derives from a Latin word for “burden,” which also produced...