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Episode 1525

Niblings and Nieflings

How do actors bring Shakespeare’s lines to life so that modern audiences immediately understand the text? One way is to emphasize the names of people and places at certain points. That technique is called billboarding. And: Anyone for an...

To Sworp

When David from Warren County, Indiana, visited relatives in Virginia, he heard about an inebriated man who was said to have entered a church and caused a ruckus while sworpin’ down the aisle. In Appalachia, the verb sworp, also spelled swarp...

Shank of the Evening

What time is it if it’s the crack of chicken? When exactly is the shank of the evening? How do you pronounce the word spelled H-O-V-E-R? Did Warren G. Harding really coin the word normalcy? Also, a name game, sports nicknames, flounder vs...

Harding’s Normalcy?

Did President Warren G. Harding coin the term normalcy in his famous Return to Normalcy speech? Turns out the word normalcy was already in use before Harding made it famous. Its synonym, normality, is generally the preferred term. Harding is also...

hip line

hip line  n.— «The side panel lines just beneath the windows—”hip lines” in auto industry parlance—slant upward. Viewed from the front in conjunction with the triple-lipped face, the look is delightfully menacing, sort of like...

scab

scab  n.— «Cook also said in some areas, notably on Warren and Fifth streets, when companies would need to replace bricks, they would take the brick out and pour in concrete, making what is known as a scab.» —“What are your streets...