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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...

Episode 1585

Diamond Dust

Diamond dust, tapioca snow, and sugar icebergs — a 1955 glossary of arctic and subarctic terms describes the environment in ways that sound poetic. And a mom says her son is dating someone who’s non-binary. She supports their relationship, but...

Carter’s Lost Note to the Tooth Fairy

After our conversation about long-forgotten items left in books, a volunteer at the Norman Williams Public Library in Woodstock, Vermont, writes to say that he found an old letter to the Tooth Fairy tucked inside a donated book. The letter is from...

Gee and Haw

The highly specialized vocabulary of people who work outdoors, communicating with sled dogs, a word from the sport of rock-climbing, church key, browse line, smeuse, nitnoy, mommick, zawn, zwer, boom dog, and I think my pig is whistling.

Church Key

A listener doing volunteer work in Tempe, Arizona, is puzzled when a co-worker refers to a bottle opener as a church key. This is part of a complete episode.