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Episode 1542

Baby Blues

A hundred years ago, suffragists lobbied to win women the right to vote. Linguistically speaking, though, suffrage isn’t about “suffering.” It’s from a Latin word that involves voting. Plus: military cadences often include...

Episode 1529

At First Blush

Book recommendations and the art of apology. Martha and Grant share some good reads, including an opinionated romp through English grammar, a Spanish-language adventure novel, an account of 19th-century dictionary wars, and a gorgeously illustrated...

A Wet Bird Never Flies at Night

Rachel from San Diego, California, says that her grandfather would occasionally answer questions with the phrase wet ducks don’t fly at night. It’s a variation of a wet bird never flies at night, a phrase that figures in a goofy joke...

Episode 1524

Kite in a Phone Booth

Stunt performers in movies have their own jargon for talking about their dangerous work. In New York City, the slang term brick means “cold,” and dumb brick means “really cold.” Plus: the East and Central African tradition...

A Turkish Fava Bean Proverb

A Turkish proverb that literally translates as “A fava bean doesn’t get wet in their mouth” means that if you tell that person a secret, they will tell everyone else. This is part of a complete episode.