One of the most powerful and most poignant words you’ll ever hear isn’t in dictionaries yet, although it probably will be eventually. An endling is the last surviving member of a species. The story of its origin is a marvelous one, involving a Georgia convalescent center, a letter to the editor in the journal Nature, a museum exhibit in Australia involving the now-extinct thylacine, the Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra, and much more. Historian Dolly Jorgensen has written compellingly about this word, as has essayist Elena Passarrello in her book Animals Strike Curious Poses. This is part of a complete episode.
- Cabin Fever (episode #1547) 04/21/2020: The adjectives canine and feline refer to dogs and cats. But how does English address other groups of animals? Plus, cabin fever has been around... [more]
- Singing Sand (episode #1546) 04/06/2020: Cat hair may be something you brush off, but cat hair is also a slang term that means "money." In the same way, cat beer... [more]
- Baby's Breath (episode #1545) 03/23/2020: Have you ever googled your own name and found someone else who goes by the very same moniker? There's a word for that: googleganger. Plus,... [more]
- Hog on Ice (episode #1544) 03/09/2020: One secret to writing well is … there is no secret! There's no substitute for simply sitting down day after day to practice the craft... [more]
- Goody Two-Shoes (episode #1543) 02/24/2020: She sells seashells by the seashore. Who is the she in this tongue twister? Some claim it's the young Mary Anning, who went on to... [more]