Kyle from Euless, Texas, wonders about the phrase I don’t cotton to this meaning “I don’t agree with this.” It originated in the textile industry, where cotton is prepared to adhere to another fabric. In the same way, some agricultural terms have given rise to useful metaphors in English; the expressions tough row to hoe, aftermath, and broadcast all originated in the language of farming. This is part of a complete episode.
- At First Blush (episode #1529) 07/15/2019: 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,... [more]
- Gift Horse (episode #1528) 07/01/2019: The edge of the Grand Canyon. A remote mountaintop. A medieval cathedral. Some places are so mystical you feel like you're close to another dimension... [more]
- Had the Radish (episode #1527) 06/21/2019: Your first name is very personal, but what if you don't like it? For some people, changing their name works out great but for others... [more]
- Abso-Bloomin-Lutely (episode #1526) 06/03/2019: The autocomplete function on your phone comes in handy, of course. But is it changing the way we write and how linguists study language? Also,... [more]
- Niblings and Nieflings (episode #1525) 05/14/2019: How do actors bring Shakespeare's lines to life so that modern audiences immediately understand the text? One way is to emphasize the names of people... [more]