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Your New Favorite Word

35 EpisodesProduced by Jamis and Tessa BuckWebsite

A podcast that celebrates wordiness, and nerdiness, and sometimes plain absurdiness!

episodes iconAll Episodes

Episode 1.01: "Quarantine" and "Skedaddle"

March 30th, 2020


In this very first episode of Your New Favorite Word we start to “c” things a different way, and change “reaction” into “creation”. Jamis and Tessa introduce you to the history of the words quarantine and skedaddle, and …

Episode 1.02: "Kitty-Corner" and "Hobo"

April 6th, 2020


Jamis and Tessa are back, with Tessa exploring the web of words around kitty-corner, and Jamis unearthing the argot of the hobo.

Episode 1.03: "Maze" and "Backronym"

April 13th, 2020


Jamis navigates the twisty little passages of the etymology of the word “maze”, and the lexically frolicsome Tessa explores one type of false …

Episode 1.04: "Splenetic" and "Heterography"

April 20th, 2020


Tessa has “the guts” to dive deep into the connection between emotion words and bodily organs. Jamis talks about homonyms: words that sound or look the same, but have different meanings, and is “kind” enough to …

Episode 1.05: Following "Flabbergast"

April 27th, 2020


Starting from the same word, Jamis and Tessa follow very different research paths. Jamis plays with lexical ambiguity, while Tessa shows us the …

Episode 1.06: "Toys, Shmoys": Yo-yos and Shm-Reduplication

May 4th, 2020


Tune in as Tessa shares the cultural and linguistic history of the yo-yo. Jamis follows it up with a discussion of “Shm-Reduplication” and its …

Episode 1.07: "Hooch" and "Coin"

May 11th, 2020


In this episode, Jamis tells us about the origins of the words “Hooch” and “Booze”. Tessa explores different meanings of the word “coin”, and talks about how lexicographers decide which words make it into the dictionary.

Episode 1.08: "Awkward" and "Graduate"

May 18th, 2020


Tessa meanders down Alaska’s Glacier Highway and ends up in an “awkward” place. With a high school senior in the house, Jamis reflects on graduation …

Episode 1.09: "Guitar" and "Feghoot"

May 25th, 2020


What’s a kithara, and how does it relate to a guitar? What does the Arabic word for “wood” have to do with the lute? Tune in and listen as Jamis explains the history of these words and instruments, and then laugh along …

Episode 1.10: "Off-kilter" and "Mondegreen"

June 1st, 2020


After announcing details for two (count 'em, two) contests to celebrate the release of episode 10, Tessa admits to feeling a bit off-kilter and wonders if it is possible to be “on-kilter”. Jamis explores the fascinating …

Episode 1.11: "Iniquity" and "Seamy"

June 8th, 2020


Tessa announces the winners of our recent contests, and then we discuss some meatier topics than usual. Jamis finds iniquity in inequity, and Tessa uncovers meaning in the seamy side.

Episode 1.12: "Crepe" and "Malapropism"

June 15th, 2020


A breakfast conversation leads Tessa to ponder the origins of the crepe, and the question of semantic boundaries. Jamis disgusts the phenomenal of the malapropism. Or, wait, I mean, discusses the phenomenon. Whatever.

Episode 1.13: "Divvy" and "Mirage"

June 29th, 2020


Did you know that “divide”, “devise”, and “device” all come from the same Latin root? Neither did Jamis, until he started researching the word “divvy”! Tessa uncovered a shifting cloud of words of her own around the …

Episode 1.14: "Pandemonium" and "Eggcorn"

July 6th, 2020


Pandemonium ensues when Tessa tries to pronounce “pandemonium” and follows John Milton to the depths of Hell. Jamis then gathers eggcorns to share, …

Episode 1.15: "Oronym" and "Contronym"

July 13th, 2020


Jamis and Tessa team up to discuss two different kinds of “name” words: those that sound the same as other words, and those that simultaneously mean …

Episode 1.16: "Euphemism" and "Pointy" words

July 20th, 2020


In this episode, Tessa investigates euphemisms for death and dying in English and other languages. [Our dialog here is fairly lighthearted; if you’ve recently lost someone close to you, you might want to skip this …

Episode 1.17: "Nostalgia" and "Thesaurus"

July 27th, 2020


Jamis takes us back to the early days of the word “nostalgia”, and its unlikely roots in medical diagnoses. Tessa reviews a picture book about the life of Dr. Peter Mark Roget, creator of the famous (well-known, …

Episode 1.18: "Dwindle" and "Pleonasm"

August 3rd, 2020


Tessa dabbles in the surprising world of English words with frequentative suffixes. Jamis discovers pleonasms, and shares them with you “free, gratis and for nothing.”

Episode 1.19: "Tatterdemalion" and "Nerd"

August 10th, 2020


Jamis’ crossword habits lead him to the surprising word “tatterdemalion”, and prompt him to dig deeper. Tessa, like the word nerd she is, investigates the Seussian origins of the word “nerd”.

Episode 1.20: "Fudge" and "Grubstake"

August 17th, 2020


Tessa explores the word cloud around the concept of “cheating”, which leads her to a deliciously fudgy destination. Jamis digs into the grubby …

Episode 1.21: "Mote" and "Berserk"

August 24th, 2020


Jamis talks about his musings on the past tense of “must”, and how it led him to the past subjunctive, and an unexpected swapping of tenses in Middle English. Tessa frantically charges into the concept of “berserk” from …

Episode 1.22: "Phantonym" and "Idiolect"

August 31st, 2020


Tessa, in her typically limpid style, introduces the concept of phantonyms. Jamis explores what constitutes his personal idiolect.

Episode 1.23: "Akimbo" and "Miser"

September 7th, 2020


Jamis wonders what’s akimbo in “akimbo”, and Tessa pinches no pennies in exploring the history and relations of “miser”.

Episode 1.24: "Gamut" and "Churlish"

September 14th, 2020


Tessa presents the unexpected musical past of the word “gamut”, while Jamis shows how a single word can come to mean two completely opposite things in different languages.

Episode 1.25: "Pigsney" and "Chicanery"

September 21st, 2020


This week, Jamis gives permission to call your loved one a “pig’s eye”, which, when pronounced “pigsney”, is actually a term of endearment. Just don’t be “a nidget” about it. Meanwhile, Tessa tells her word histories …

Episode 1.26: "Poltroon" and "Hodgepodge"

September 28th, 2020


Tessa, no nidget, digs into words related to cowardice, and discovers various farm animals hiding beneath the surface. Jamis revels in the galimaufry of synonyms for hodgepodge, and learns a new word for “leftovers”.

Episode 1.27: "Aftermath" and "Watergate"

October 5th, 2020


Jamis learns the meaning of “math” in “aftermath”, and discovers surprising depth in a common preposition. Tessa investigates the linguistic history of Watergate and discovers some intriguing ties to China. (Gasp!)

Episode 1.28: "Usurp" and "Victual"

October 12th, 2020


Tessa rapidly siezes the opportunity to uncover connections between words related to the idea of snatching. Jamis is boggled by the true pronunciation of “victual”, and goes in search of other words with surprising …

Episode 1.29: "Aumbry" and "Egregious"

October 19th, 2020


Jamis peeks into an archaic cupboard of forgotten vocabulary and comes up with a particularly delightful morsel. Tessa expounds on the egregious use …

Episode 1.30: "Leal," "Dree one's weird", and "Hocus-Pocus"

October 26th, 2020


Tessa is introduced to some Scottish archaisms courtesy of a beloved Canadian author. Jamis explores the possible origins of a well-known magical incantation.

Episode 1.31: Turkish-isms and "Phizzog"

November 2nd, 2020


Jamis finds a surprising number of English words with Turkish origins. A poem by Carl Sandberg inspires Tessa to delve into the linguistic and psychosocial connection between personalities and faces.

Episode 1.32: "Bromide" and "Hiatus"

November 9th, 2020


In an attempt to not be a “bromide”, Tessa shares what she learned about a humorist who left us an unexpected linguistic legacy. Then, Jamis …

Episode 1.33: "Flotsam & Jetsam", and Platitudinous Synonyms

November 16th, 2020


From the annals of maritime law, Jamis salvages the history and meaning of flotsam and jetsam. Tessa travels a well-worn path, following last week’s …

Episode 1.34: Word Games!

November 23rd, 2020


Jamis and Tessa try something different this week: instead of sharing their new favorite words, they’re sharing their new favorite word games. Because words are fun! (Disclaimer: Jamis and Tessa are not affiliated with …

Episode 1.35: "Season" and "Snowclone"

November 30th, 2020


Jamis and Tessa reminisce a bit about previous favorite words. Jamis then talks about the history of “season”, and Tessa tells us about “snowclones”, or adaptable cliché frames.

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