If you think they refer to umbrellas as bumbershoots in the UK, think again. The word bumbershoot actually originated in the United States; in Britain, it’s more likely a brolly. You’ll learn that and much more about the differences between British English and American English in the marvelous new book The Prodigal Tongue by linguist Lynne Murphy. This is part of a complete episode.
- Navel-Gazing (episode #1549) 06/29/2020: In 1971, when a new public library opened in Troy, Michigan, famous authors and artists were invited to write letters to the city's youngest readers,... [more]
- Yak Shaving (episode #1548) 06/08/2020: There was a time when William Shakespeare was just another little seven-year-old in school. Classes in his day were demanding — and all in Latin.... [more]
- 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]