A Way With Words on RADIO IQ & RADIO IQ With BBC News

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

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

  • Friday, April 17, 2015 11:51am
    Johnny or johnny gown, meaning hospital gown, is a term most associated with New England. This is part of a complete episode.
  • Friday, April 17, 2015 11:51am
    We spoke on an earlier show about insensible losses, a medical term for things like water vapor that your body loses but you don’t sense it. That inspired a Sacramento, California, listener to write a poem with that title about great artists who go underappreciated. This is part of a complete episode.
  • Friday, April 17, 2015 11:51am
    The slang term nation pops up several times in The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn as a reduced form of a mild swear word. The word damnation was euphemized as tarnation, which was later shortened to nation. Nation in this sense goes back to the mid-1700’s at least, and can also mean “large,” “great,” or “excellent.” [...]
  • Friday, April 17, 2015 11:51am
    As author Terry Pratchett once said, “It’s still magic if you know how it’s done.” This is part of a complete episode.
  • Friday, April 17, 2015 11:51am
    We have the word avuncular to mean like an uncle, but is there one word for describing someone or something aunt-like? Materteral is one option, though it’s rarely used. This is part of a complete episode.