What do you call a gift that turns into a hassle, like a gift card for a store not in your area, or one with a pressing expiration date? A New York caller suggests the term gaft. Another possibility is white elephant, a term derived from the story of a king in ancient Siam, who punished unruly subjects with the gift of a rare white elephant. The recipient couldn’t possibly refuse the present but the elephant’s upkeep became extremely costly. This is part of a complete episode.
- Deviled Eggs (episode #1554) 09/14/2020: Some TV commercials launch catchphrases that stick around long after the original ads. The exclamation Good stuff, Maynard! is still a compliment almost 40 years... [more]
- Play It by Ear (episode #1553) 08/31/2020: How does social context shape our perception of language? When hiking the Appalachian Trail, a young woman from Wyoming found that fellow hikers assumed she... [more]
- Moon Palace (episode #1552) 08/17/2020: What happens in a classroom of refugee and immigrant youngsters learning English? Their fresh approach to language can result in remarkable poetry — some of... [more]
- Online Event August 27, 2020: Lemonade, Anyone? 08/04/2020: ... [more]
- Cherry Bombs (episode #1551) 07/27/2020: An ornithologist says there's a growing movement to change the name of a pink-footed bird currently called the flesh-footed shearwater. The movement reflects a growing... [more]