A Way With Words on RADIO IQ with BBC

Saturdays at 7:00 pm on RADIO IQ.
Martha Barnette, Grant Barrett

A Way With Words is a weekly, hour-long, national, caller-based program about language. Author Martha Barnette and lexicographer Grant Barrett take calls about slang, grammar, linguistic heirlooms, old sayings, word origins, regional dialects, family expressions, and speaking and writing well.

By looking at the world through the lens of language, A Way With Words offers a brand-new perspective on politics, pop culture, history, sports, music, science, literature, and foreign cultures.

Funny, informative, and fast-paced, each hour-long episode includes a word puzzle and slang quiz. 

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Program Headlines

  • Saturday, June 27, 2015 12:08am
    First-century graffiti. People in ancient times could be just as bawdy and colorful as we are today. To prove it, we found some graffiti written on the walls in the city of Pompeii, and found plenty of sex, arrogance and good old fashioned bathroom talk etched in stone. Plus, British rhyming slang makes its way [...]
  • Friday, June 26, 2015 11:51am
    The expression “to a T” comes from a shortening of tittle, a word meaning a little of something. The word tittle even shows up in the bible. There’s also an idiom “to the teeth,” as in dressed to the teeth, or fully armored-up. This is part of a complete episode.
  • Friday, June 26, 2015 11:51am
    The Climbing Dictionary by Matt Samet includes a fantastic term that can be used by non-climbers as well: high gravity day, a day when all routes, even easy ones, seem impossible due to a seeming increase in gravity. This is part of a complete episode.
  • Friday, June 26, 2015 11:51am
    Vermont is one place—but not the only one—where non-natives are referred to as flatlanders, and people who’ve been around generations proudly call themselves woodchucks. It’s written about on Shawn Kerivan’s blog, Innkeeping Insights in Stowe. This is part of a complete episode.
  • Friday, June 26, 2015 11:51am
    One listener followed up our discussion of classic literary passages turned into limerick form by writing one of his own, a baseball-themed poem that begins, “There once was a batter named Casey.” This is part of a complete episode.