A new story from A Way with Words: language, linguistics, and callers from all over


You're listening to a special edition of a way with words, the show about language and how we use it, I'm grant Barrett. And I'm Martha Barnett. Today we're looking back at some of our favorite conversations about cats and dogs, and a few other animals besides. Cats and dogs prowl around inside some interesting English words, for example, the adjective should toy it. That's CH AT OY, ANT. It describes something that's shimmering like a cat's eyes. Like you might talk about a situat gemstone. And she told comes from the French word for cat. And don't forget about sleuth. You and I do a lot of sleuthing. And sleuth is a shortening of the word sleuth hound. In the 15th century the name sleuth hound applied to a bloodhound with a strong sense of smell, but it wasn't until the 19th century that sleuth came to apply to a private investigator instead of to the dog. And then there are all those funny words that our own pets inspire. Emily called from San Diego to talk about one of them, the word blip.

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