Word Matters

Word Matters

36. On Jane Austen\'s Use of \'Condescension\'

We\'re going back to our inbox this week to answer some of your most pressing concerns. Such as:...

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35. \'Fewer\' vs. \'Less\'

You might\'ve seen the sign at the grocery store: \"12 items or less.\" Depending on what you\'ve...

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34. What Is a \'Retronym\'?

You probably encounter them all the time: new words created to describe the older version of a...

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33. Tracing the Origins of Famous Phrases

We\'re catching up on our email! This week, we answer some listener questions about the murky...

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32. The Story of the Backward Index

Strange but true: in the basement of our Springfield office, we have a file of 315,000 words...

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31. Why Is It Called an 'Adam's Apple'?

The Adam's apple: it's neither an apple nor is it possessed exclusively by people named Adam....

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30. How We Write a Bilingual Dictionary

We're going deep on dictionary lore this week! Listen in for an interview with editor Peter...

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29. There Is No Such Thing as "The Dictionary"

No, we don't mean that we've been ghosts this whole time. (Or do we?) What we're saying is we...

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28. The Onomatopoeia Episode

O-N-O-M-A-T-O-P-O-E-I-A. The forming of a word in imitation of a sound. First, we'll look at...

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27. What's the Longest Word in the Dictionary?

This episode is all about dictionary myths and mysteries. Is the longest word the one you think...

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26. How Do You Pronounce 'Often'?

First, we examine the common word 'often.' Is one way of saying it more correct than the other?...

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25. New Words in the Dictionary

Language never rests, and neither do we. In January 2021, Merriam-Webster added 520 new words and...

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25. New Words in the Dictionary

Language never rests, and neither do we. In January 2021, Merriam-Webster added 520 new words and...

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24. Questions from You

We're going back to our mailbag this week for another round of our listeners' most vexing,...

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23. Who Put the 'Lady' in 'Ladybug'?

Etymology meets entomology this week (at last!) as we dive into just how the ladybug got its...

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22. Words That Are Their Own Opposites

How is it possible that a word like 'oversight' can refer to both watchful care and an...

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A Holiday Greeting

Hello friends! We're taking a short break and will return with new episodes in early January....

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21. When a Mistake Leads to a New Word

Some words are borrowed from elsewhere. Some are created for a purpose. Others are, well, a bit...

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20. Is It a '180' or a '360'?

We start this week in the rough-and-tumble world of politics (yikes!) with an analysis of the...

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19. The Word of the Year 2020

What can the most frequently searched words of the year tell us about 2020? On this special...

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