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Bad Vice and Vice President

Vice is a noun meaning bad behavior, but it’s also an adjective referring to an official who is second in command. Karen, a seventh- and eighth-grade history teacher in Waco, Texas, says her students wonder why. These two senses of vice come...

Throw the House Out the Window

Buenos! In this week’s archive edition, we consider alternatives to the word “retirement.” We also discuss “swan song,” “bike-shedding,” “tohubohu,” “criteria,” and how to pronounce...

Lurve a Librarian

Greetings, Murphys and Melvins and wedgies, oh my! In this week’s archive episode, we talk about these and other terms for that cruel prank that involves a yank. Also, funny Facebook groups for grammar lovers, the difference between...

full-pay

full-pay  n.— «Many colleges discount tuition an average of 30 to 40 percent. Still, by offering even a relatively small cut, colleges get students who pay a hefty price. “The full-pays are few and far between,” said Greg Eichhorn, the...

hit a number

hit a number  v. phr.— «Inserra knows how intense the pressure to inflate values can get. Three years ago, he found himself battling one of his largest clients. The bank’s senior vice president in charge of mortgage lending tried to get...

The Lipstick Express (minicast)

Hockey mom, mavericky, snow machines, and—how could we forget that other memorable phrase from the 2008 presidential campaign?—lipstick on a pig. Some new and not-so-new terms leapt onto the national stage during Gov. Sarah Palin‘s run for the...