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Defenstrate

A recent call from a video editor looking for a fancy word to refer to extracting video from a computer drew a huge response from listeners trying to help. The suggestions they offered include cull, evict, expunge, expede, disassemble, de-vid, and...

Retcon Phenomenon

Retcon, short for retroactive continuity, is the phenomenon commonly used in video games, comic books, and soap operas where something from a past plotline is changed in order for what’s happening in the present to make sense. Also along those lines...

Inflationary Language

In an earlier episode, we played a game in which we raised the ante on words with hidden “numbers” inside them. For example, forever became five-ever. Many listeners wrote to share Victor Borge’s hilarious Inflationary Language...

Coursers They Came

Sweet baby reindeer! It’s almost Christmas and we’ve got a lot of wrapping to do. Last weekend’s episode is live online and in iTunes. In it, we shared quotations about writing, talked about whether “ladies” is...

Butter My Biscuits

Well, look what the cat dragged in! It’s another newsletter from A Way with Words. Given how often we talk about food words, we should write a cookbook. For example, this past weekend’s show was a leftover — a rebroadcast, a rerun, a re...

Brown Chicken, Brown Cow

Hi! In our latest episode: How do rules of grammar develop, anyway? What's "tarantula juice"? How did "boondoggle" come to mean "a waste of taxpayer money"? Plus, funny movie mistakes, and a new spin on the slang...