A teacher of English as a second language asks our Facebook group to name some unusual words for ordinary things. The group’s suggestions include winklehawk, which means an L-shaped tear in cloth, and diastema, which means a gap between one’s teeth. In his 1926 book History in English Words, Owen Barfield offers this lyrical observation about etymology: “Words may be made to disgorge the past that is bottled up inside them, as coal and wine, when we kindle or drink them, yield up their bottled sunshine.” This is part of a complete episode.
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- Spill the Tea (episode #1521) 03/25/2019: If someone urges you to spill the tea, they probably don't want you tipping over a hot beverage. Originally, the tea here was the letter... [more]
- Dirty Laundry (#episode 1520) 03/11/2019: When you had sleepovers as a child, what did you call the makeshift beds you made on the floor? In some places, you call those... [more]
- Keep Your Powder Dry (episode #1519) 02/25/2019: Jacuzzi and silhouette are eponyms — that is, they derive from the names of people. An Italian immigrant to California invented the bubbly hot tub... [more]