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Bah, Humblebrag!

What’s your choice for the 2011 word of the year? Grant shares some of his picks. Speaking of picks, why do football commentators seem to love the term pick-six? Also, great quotations from writers, the meaning of such Briticisms as cheeky and...

Writers’ Quotes About Writing

Writers always seem to come up with brilliant quotes about writing, and why shouldn’t they? Douglas Adams has noted, “I love deadlines. I like the whooshing sound they make as they fly by.” And Gloria Steinem once quipped: “I...

Defugalty

Have you ever been faced with a defugalty? This ironic misspelling and mispronunciation of difficulty popped up in a Dashiell Hammett novel, They Glass Key, in 1931. It’s often said with a tongue in the cheek, but, as in the case of the...

Roly-Polies

There’s another brand-new episode for you to catch up on, in which we talk about “sonker” (a kind of fruit cobbler), suss (is it British?), roly-polies (a bug which by any other name would still look like a tiny armadillo), and a big...

Gronk the Data

What does it mean to gronk the data? A listener from the medical device business wonders about the techie word “gronk,” which first popped up in Robert Heinlein’s 1961 novel Stranger in a Strange Land. Grant also mentions Jeff...

Bowdlerize

A few weeks ago, a listener was looking for a term to describe the copy of The Emperor’s New Clothes that he’d read many times as a child. In this picture book, the naughty bits were always cleverly covered up. Thinking he wanted a...