December 21, 2014 14:25 UTC

Words and Their Stories

Words and Their Stories each week explains idioms and expressions that many learners of American English find difficult to understand.


12:40 AM - 12:45 AM December 21, 2014

Words and Their Stories

Words and Their Stories each week explains idioms and expressions that many learners of American English find difficult to understand.


12:40 AM - 12:45 AM December 14, 2014

Words and Their Stories

Words and Their Stories each week explains idioms and expressions that many learners of American English find difficult to understand.


12:40 AM - 12:45 AM December 07, 2014

Words and Their Stories

Words and Their Stories each week explains idioms and expressions that many learners of American English find difficult to understand.


8:00 PM - 8:06 PM December 04, 2014

Salt Is More Than a Four-letter Word


12:40 AM - 12:45 AM November 30, 2014

Words and Their Stories

Words and Their Stories each week explains idioms and expressions that many learners of American English find difficult to understand.


10:10 PM - 10:15 PM November 25, 2014

Turkey: A Case of Mistaken Identity


12:40 AM - 12:45 AM November 23, 2014

Words and Their Stories

Words and Their Stories each week explains idioms and expressions that many learners of American English find difficult to understand.


8:24 PM - 8:29 PM November 20, 2014

Learn Idioms that Deal with Matter


12:40 AM - 12:45 AM November 16, 2014

Words and Their Stories

Words and Their Stories each week explains idioms and expressions that many learners of American English find difficult to understand.


7:18 PM - 7:23 PM November 13, 2014

Words and Their Stories: Don't Get Caught in a Catch-22. You Will Never Get Out.


12:40 AM - 12:45 AM November 09, 2014

Words and Their Stories

Words and Their Stories each week explains idioms and expressions that many learners of American English find difficult to understand.


8:08 PM - 8:12 PM November 06, 2014

Words and Their Stories: Boxing Expressions


12:40 AM - 12:45 AM November 02, 2014

Words and Their Stories

Words and Their Stories each week explains idioms and expressions that many learners of American English find difficult to understand.


6:27 PM - 6:32 PM October 30, 2014

"The Devil made me do it." And other devilish idioms.


12:40 AM - 12:45 AM October 26, 2014

Words and Their Stories

Words and Their Stories each week explains idioms and expressions that many learners of American English find difficult to understand.


12:40 AM - 12:45 AM October 19, 2014

Words and Their Stories

Words and Their Stories each week explains idioms and expressions that many learners of American English find difficult to understand.


12:40 AM - 12:45 AM October 12, 2014

Words and Their Stories

Words and Their Stories each week explains idioms and expressions that many learners of American English find difficult to understand.


12:40 AM - 12:45 AM October 05, 2014

Words and Their Stories

Words and Their Stories each week explains idioms and expressions that many learners of American English find difficult to understand.


1:49 PM - 1:54 PM October 02, 2014

You Don't Have to Be a Rocket Scientist to Understand This Story


1:37 PM - 1:42 PM October 02, 2014

Are you Chicken-Livered? Or Are You a Lame Duck?

    Audio I'm Dreaming of a White Christmas

    Music fills the air. Colorful lights shine brightly in windows. Children and adults open gifts from loved ones and friends. These are all Christmas traditions. Another tradition is snow. In many places, a blanket of clean white snow covers the ground on Christmas Day, making it a "White Christmas."

    Audio Is He Santa Claus, Saint Nicholas, Kris Kringle or Pelznickel?

    Some of the many names of the short, fat, jolly old man with a long beard, wearing a red suit with white fur who delights children at Christmas | Words and Their Stories

    Video Salt Is More Than a Four-Letter Word

    On today’s Words and Their Stories we talk about a common word, a small word, but a word that is completely necessary for human life. In fact, without this simple, everyday material, all humans would die. Scientists know it as sodium chloride. We know it as salt.

    Audio Turkey: A Case of Mistaken Identity

    Many think the bird comes from the nation of Turkey. But turkey is not from Turkey. In fact, the fact that the turkey bird is called by that name is one big mistake. Find out in today's Words and Their Stories.

    Audio What's the Matter?

    From the very big to the very small, everything in our universe is made up of matter. Matter is one of those very hardworking words that you need to master ... no matter what. We will get you to the hear of the matter with this Words and Their Stories.

    Audio Don't Get Caught in a Catch-22

    You find a job you like. You ask for the job, but are told you cannot have it. The reason? You have not done that job before. That is insane, you think. I cannot get the job because I have never done the work. How can I ever do the work if I cannot get the job? And that is the catch -- Catch-22!

    Audio Words and their Stories: Boxing Expressions

    The sport of boxing gave us famous competitors like Muhammad Ali. It also gave us many expressions that have become frequently used in American English. Learn everyday expressions like "go the distance" and "throw in the towel" that come from the sport of boxing. | Words and Their Stories

    Audio A Halloween Special: The Devil is Everywhere ...

    Today we take you to the Dark Side. (insert evil laugh here) We teach expressions that involve the king of evil – the devil. Read on to learn how to “speak of the devil”, “to play devil’s advocate” and to ”make a deal with the devil.” | Words and Their Stories

    Audio You Don't Have to Be a Rocket Scientist to Read This

    "You do not need to be a rocket scientist." Americans hear these words often. People say them in schools, offices and factories. Broadcasters on radio and television use them. How did the expression begin? No one seems to know for sure. But you can find out by reading this Words and Their Stories.

    Audio Baseball Terms

    Baseball is America’s national sport. So it is not unusual that many popular expressions come from baseball. But first, let me explain a little about the game. Each baseball team has nine players. The pitcher of one team throws the ball to a batter from the other team.

    Audio Birds and Their Stories

    American English is stuffed full of expressions about birds. Oh this story is a real feather in my cap. See? I told you! | Words and Their Stories

    Audio Hey, I'm Workin' for Chickenfeed Here!

    Americans, like people in other countries, always want more money. One way they express this is by protesting that their jobs do not pay enough. A common expression is, "I am working for chickenfeed." | Words and Their Stories

    Audio Wildcats: Congressmen, Money, Oil Wells and Strikers

    Americans use the names of animals in many ways | Words and Their Stories

    Audio This 'Swan Song' Is My 'Last Hurrah'

    The expression "swan song" has long been a part of the English language. At first, "swan song" meant the last work of a poet, musician or writer. Now, it means the final effort of any person. | Words and Their Stories

    Audio 'A Rolling Stone Gathers No Moss'

    How an old proverb led to two songs, a popular rock and roll band and a magazine | Words and Their Stories

    Audio Are You Losing It?

    Americans seem to have a lot of concern about losing it. At least that is what you would think from hearing them talk. They use the expression when they feel they are losing control.

    Audio A Cup of Joe With Average Joes and Plain Janes

    Jeez Louise, don't be a doubting Thomas -- just sign your John Hancock and make Uncle Sam happy with these Words and Their Stories!

    Audio Go Away! You're Buggin' Me!

    There are many American expressions about insects -- like bees, for example. Bees are known as very hard workers. They always appear to be busy, moving around in their homes, or hives. So you might say you were "as busy as a bee" if you spent your weekend cleaning your house.

    Audio This Story Is 'The Cat's Meow!'

    This is a story about fraidy-cats, scaredy-cats, copycats, fat cats and everything else the cats dragged in.

    Audio Are We Really Just Monkeys?

    Monkeys are very similar to us in many ways -- most have ten fingers and ten toes, and brains much like ours. We enjoy watching them because they often act like us. In fact, Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution says that monkeys and humans share a common ancestor.

Learn with The News

  • Chinese President Xi Jinping, left, and U.S. President Obama participate in a welcome ceremony for President Obama at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, China Wednesday, Nov. 12, 2014. (AP Photo/Andy Wong)

    Audio Is China Starting to Live its Dream?

    Trust in the American dream may be disappearing. But halfway around the world, a new dream has been gaining strength -- the Chinese dream. To be exact: President Xi Jinping’s Chinese dream. But, what is the Chinese dream? And how has President Xi started to make his dream for the country a reality? More

  • Audio I'm Dreaming of a White Christmas

    Music fills the air. Colorful lights shine brightly in windows. Children and adults open gifts from loved ones and friends. These are all Christmas traditions. Another tradition is snow. In many places, a blanket of clean white snow covers the ground on Christmas Day, making it a "White Christmas." More

  • FILE - A Muslim woman releases a dove as a symbol of peace during a rally against the Islamic State group in Jakarta, Indonesia, Sept. 5, 2014.

    Audio Indonesia Reports Increase in Citizens Joining Islamic State

    Indonesia estimates that more than 350 of its citizens are now in Syria or Iraq to fight with Islamic State militants. That would represent an increase of 50 since last month. Most of the Indonesian fighters do not come directly from their homeland, but from other countries where they may be working More

  • Audio Turkey Rejects Criticism of Raids on Opposition Media

    Turkish officials say recent arrests of more than 20 journalists were made in connection with a plot against the government. But the European Union says Turkey is increasingly becoming more authoritarian. It said the media raids were in conflict with European values. More

  • US Cuba

    Audio Obama Moves to Normalize Relations with Cuba

    President Barack Obama announced a major change in United States’ policy toward Cuba this week. He said he wants Congress to ease more than 50 years of U.S. sanctions against the island nation. And he said the two nations should once again formally recognize one another. More

Featured Stories

  • Video Music Shows in Private Homes Gain Popularity

    Attending a live musical performance, be it in a huge arena or a small cafe, is an exciting experience. But here in the U.S., a very different kind of performance is gaining popularity: house concerts. “There's just a totally unique experience as opposed to playing like a coffee shop or a bar." More

  • Lee Surrenders to Grant at Appomatox

    Audio Southern General Robert E. Lee Surrenders at Appomattox

    General Robert E. Lee’s military skill and intelligence helped extend the war between the states. But even his skill could not save the South from the industrial power of the North and its mighty armies -- armies that were better-fed and better-equipped. On Sunday, August 9, Lee surrendered. More

  • Uganda Playground for Disabled Children

    Audio Helping Uganda’s Disabled Children Play

    You may think that all children have freedom to play. But for children who look differently from others or have physical disabilities, the idea of play can seem far away. An organization in Uganda is seeking to change that. Read on to learn words needed to talk about this sometimes difficult topic. More

  • A microneedle used to inject glaucoma medications into the eye is shown next to a liquid drop from a conventional eye dropper. (Georgia Tech Photo: Gary Meek

    Audio Tiny Needles Treat Eye Disease

    Glaucoma is the second leading cause of blindness around the world. In the United States, more than two million people suffer from the disease. Now, researchers are developing very small needles that may offer a more effective and painless treatment for glaucoma and other eye diseases. More

  • The National Museum of Organized Crime and Law Enforcement in Las Vegas

    Audio Mob Museum Tells About the Mafia in America

    The U.S. government has long used public money to fight organized crime. Now, public money is also paying for a museum in Las Vegas to tell about "The Mob,” and not everyone is happy about that. But some say it helps the local economy by bringing people to a part of Las Vegas that few visit. More

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