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Words of the Year (full episode)

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In this episode, Grant offers a peek at some expressions he’s nominating for the American Dialect Society’s 2007 Word of the Year vote in January, 2008. Will it be w00t, subprime, or something else? You can also check out Grant’s look at “word of the year” contenders in the New York Times Week in Review section of Sunday, December 23rd.

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Get out your plastic utensils and pull up a folding chair! A caller’s question about the origin of the word potluck stirs up mouthwatering memories of crispy fried chicken, warm peach cobbler, and Jell-O salad with marshmallows. Okay, the Jell-O salad not so much. But still, whether you call it a pitch-in, a carry-in, dinner on the grounds, a covered-dish supper, a Jacob’s supper, a faith supper, or a potluck, it’s all good eatin’!

An Indiana listener complains that he can’t stand to hear presidential candidates pronounce the word pundit as “pundint.”

Greg Pliska adds an apt and all-round admirably appealing appraisal of alliterative ability. Meaning, our Puzzle Guy presents a quiz about words that start with the same letters. May we just say that Greg gives great game?

A Florida eighth-grader wants to know if a word she memorized for a spelling bee is real: agathokakological. Easy for her to say.

An American cartographer for the United Nations reports that he and his British wife disagree over whether lollygolly is a real word that means “to dawdle.” Martha and Grant show the mapmaker where to draw the line.

Martha and Grant discuss a couple of strange new words making the rounds: lecondel and earmarxist.

This week’s “Slang This!” contestant finds out whether the word puddle is a slang term for part of a car’s muffler and if the expression hang paper involves flying kites.

A Pennsylvania caller asks to clarify the difference between who vs. that.

Finally, just in time for holiday get-togethers, Grant and Martha provide some linguistic family therapy to solve a mother-daughter conflict over whether nummy is a legitimate term. Mom says it’s perfect for describing a delicious meal, but her daughter finds that kind of language embarrassing. Is nummy a real word? Open the hangar, here comes the answer!

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