April 18, 2015 20:52 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.


3:35 PM - 3:40 PM April 17, 2015

Early American Railroads Shape Modern Language


12:40 AM - 12:45 AM April 12, 2015

Words and Their Stories

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


5:44 PM - 5:49 PM April 10, 2015

American Expressions in the Home


12:40 AM - 12:45 AM April 05, 2015

Words and Their Stories

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


7:02 PM - 7:07 PM April 02, 2015

Expressions From the World of Bugs


12:40 AM - 12:45 AM March 29, 2015

Words and Their Stories

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


3:38 PM - 3:43 PM March 26, 2015

Don't Panic!


12:40 AM - 12:45 AM March 22, 2015

Words and Their Stories

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


1:56 PM - 2:01 PM March 20, 2015

Green Means Spring! And Other Things.


12:40 AM - 12:45 AM March 15, 2015

Words and Their Stories

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


7:38 PM - 7:43 PM March 13, 2015

'Beware the Ides of March'


12:40 AM - 12:45 AM March 08, 2015

Words and Their Stories

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


7:53 PM - 7:58 PM March 06, 2015

Easy As Falling Off a Log


12:40 AM - 12:45 AM March 01, 2015

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 February 22, 2015

Words and Their Stories

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


4:27 PM - 4:32 PM February 19, 2015

Down to Earth


4:08 PM - 4:12 PM February 19, 2015

Top Brass


12:40 AM - 12:45 AM February 15, 2015

Words and Their Stories

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


5:00 AM - 5:05 AM February 13, 2015

Words and Their Stories: Sustainable


12:40 AM - 12:45 AM February 08, 2015

Words and Their Stories

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

    Audio Early American Railroads Shape Modern Language

    This week, we look at some train and railroad expressions commonly used in American English. This is only part one. There are many idioms and expressions relating to trains. So ... all aboard! Make sure you have your ticket because this train is leaving the station!

    Audio American Expressions at Home

    Some people enjoy spending a lot of time in their homes to make them nice places to live. This is called nesting or cocooning. From couch potatoes to cabin fever -- learn some great idioms that have to do with the home.

    Audio Expressions From the World of Bugs

    We have many expressions about bees and bugs in American English. Have you ever had a bee in your bonnet? Are you as busy as a bee? Read on to find out what these expression mean and how to use them.

    Audio Don't Panic!

    Actually ... seeing a Great White shark this close would be a great time to panic. Read on to learn about the Greek myth behind the work "panic" and some idioms. There is also a shortened section from "The Sea Wolf" by writer Jack London. He wrote one of the greatest panic attacks in literature.

    Audio Green Means Spring and Other Things

    Spring in the U.S. means the landscape is turning green. So, it's only appropriate that we teach some green idioms and expressions! Some may surprise you. Have you ever met a "green-eyed monster?" Is having a "green thumb" a good thing or something that needs a doctor's care? Read on to find out.

    Audio 'Beware the Ides of March'

    The Ides of March falls on March 15. William Shakespeare wrote the famous words, "Beware the Ides of March." But what was he talking about? And what has it got to with George Clooney? Read on to find out.

    Audio Down to Earth

    Some expressions about people who treat everyone fairly and with respect | Words and Their Stories

    Audio Top Brass

    Experts disagree about how these strange expressions started. But, they may have come from Britain. Leaders of the 19th century British army wore pieces of metal called oak leaves on their hats. The metal brass has a color similar to that of gold. So a leader or commander came to be called...

    Audio Is Your Plan Sustainable?

    Talk about business, agriculture, and growth these days usually mentions the quality of being sustainable. Find out the history and meanings of this very modern term in this week’s Words and Their Stories.

    Audio Let's Do Business!

    There are many special terms in the world of business. The following story is about a sweetheart deal which I made last week. I made the deal with a friend, and we both made a profit.

    Audio Has Fate Brought Us Together?

    Fate is a word that can be hard to understand. Fate, to describe it simply, means that something is meant to be. Fate is a word that has weight. It has power. When we say sealed one’s fate we mean a person has done something that has guaranteed a certain end result -- usually a bad one.

    Audio Are You in the Homeland Generation?

    After the 2001 terrorist attacks, we've heard the word “homeland” more often in the United States. Some are even proposing the word as the name for today’s generation of young people. But the word holds many different meanings around the world -- some positive and some quite negative.

    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

Learn with The News

  • World Bank President Jim Yong Kim is seen speaking at a news conference.

    Audio World Bank Head Sees Other Development Banks as Allies

    Slowing economic growth around the world is endangering the World Bank’s goal of ending extreme poverty by the year 2030. Mr. Kim said the goal remains within reach. But he thinks extreme poverty will disappear only if world leaders and financial and development agencies do their part. More

  • Children playing on the shores of Guanabara Bay

    Audio Brazil Working to Clean Dirty Olympic Bay

    Around the world, people are excited for the 2016 Summer Olympic Games. The host city for the events is Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. The city is known as Cidade Maravilhosa – the Marvelous City – because of its beautiful landscapes. But one body of water in Rio, Guanabara Bay, is not so marvelous. More

  • Video New Movie Shows an Unseen Underwater World

    Jean-Michael Cousteau and his team used an IMAX camera to produce a 40-minute documentary about the world’s oceans. The film shows how the smallest life in the sea is important to the survival of all life on the planet. There are also thousands, maybe millions of species not yet identified. More

  • Audio Early American Railroads Shape Modern Language

    This week, we look at some train and railroad expressions commonly used in American English. This is only part one. There are many idioms and expressions relating to trains. So ... all aboard! Make sure you have your ticket because this train is leaving the station! More

  • Women in Combat

    Video Women Seek to Join US Army Rangers

    Army expects nearly 20 women will begin the difficult training on Monday; it says they will have to meet the same standards as men to graduate from course. Opinion study of male troops finds many do not think women should be Rangers. The Army says those who graduate will be Rangers. More

Featured Stories

  • Audio Early American Railroads Shape Modern Language

    This week, we look at some train and railroad expressions commonly used in American English. This is only part one. There are many idioms and expressions relating to trains. So ... all aboard! Make sure you have your ticket because this train is leaving the station! More

  • Everyday Grammar - Gerunds and Infinitives

    Audio Everyday Grammar: Gerunds and Infinitives

    English learners have difficulty with gerunds and infinitives. A gerund is the –ing form of a verb that functions the same as a noun. For example, “Running is fun.” In this sentence, “running” is the gerund. It acts just like a noun. More

  • Autism book

    Video Mother, Son, Co-Write Children’s Book on Autism

    ‘If You Were Me’ tells the story of 18-year-old Burnie Rollinson’s story. He was diagnosed with Asperger's at age three. He has few friends but he enjoys a full and productive life. He and his mother, Anita Rollinson, created their book together. She wrote the words and Burnie drew the pictures. More

  • Video Benito Cereno by Herman Melville, Part Two

    Last week, we told how African slaves on a Spanish ship rebelled in seventeen ninety-nine. They killed most of the Spanish sailors. Only the captain, Benito Cereno and a few others survived. The story continues - what happened on Captain Cereno's ship? Read the second of three part More

  • Video Motor-Free Device Reduces Stress from Walking

    Devices that help people walk were once thought to be difficult, if not impossible, to design. Until recently, such a device required electricity from an external power supply. Now, American scientists have built a small, wearable addition to normal shoes. More

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