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Icognseeto Sniglet

On HBO’s Not Necessarily the News, comedian Rich Hall offered sniglets, goofy made-up words for things and ideas that don’t already have names, like aquadextrous, describing someone able to use their toes to turn off the bathtub faucet...

Cutthroat Compounds

Scarecrow and pickpocket are compound words that name things and people by describing what they do. Such nouns were especially popular centuries ago, when quake-breech meant a coward, a saddle-goose was a fool, a scrape-gut was a violinist, and...

Hornswoggle, That Odd Word

Scott in Billings, Montana, wonders about the word hornswoggle, meaning to swindle, bamboozle, deceive, or trick. This verb found its way into American English during the 1820’s, when there was a fad among newspaper editors and writers for...

Longest Word Brain Stretcher

Quiz Guy John Chaneski has a brain-stretching challenge to think of the longest word that begins and ends with a particular pair of letters. For example, what’s the longest word you can think of that starts with A and ends with A? This is part...

Floccinaucinihilipilification

A woman in Virginia Beach, Virginia, wants to know the pronunciation of floccinaucinihilipilification, and why such a long word means “the habit of estimating something as worthless.” This is part of a complete episode.

Origin of “Panorama”

Long before English speakers adopted the suffix –orama, as in Scoutorama and smell-o-rama, there was French word panorama referring to “a great display or spectacle.” Panorama comes from Greek words that mean “whole view...