April 01, 2015 08:04 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 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.


5:47 PM - 5:51 PM February 06, 2015

Get Your Act Together!


12:40 AM - 12:45 AM February 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 January 25, 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.


10:23 PM - 10:28 PM January 23, 2015

Let's Do Business!


3:38 PM - 3:43 PM January 23, 2015

Making Sweetheart Deals, Crunching the Numbers and Getting a Bang for the Buck

    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

    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

Learn with The News

  • Audio Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan Admits Defeat

    Also, Iranian and U.S. negotiators agree to take more time to try to reach an agreement on Iran's nuclear program; new U.S. Treasury sanctions target Syrian official and companies; and the government of Myanmar and representatives from 16 major ethnic rebel groups sign a draft cease-fire accord. More

  • Starbucks' April Fools' Day prank: New giant and very tiny coffee cups

    Video A Day for Fools

    April Fools’ Day is celebrated in many countries around the world. In France, it’s called Poisson d’Avril or “Fish of April.” In Scotland, the holiday is often called “Gowkie Day.” In Iraq, it is called Kithbet Neesan or “April Lie.” In the U.S., it is a day of joking and playing tricks on friends. More

  • Audio Tensions Rise Again over Falkland Islands

    Britain and Argentina went to war for the territory in 1982. The British win helped the country's government win re-election. Argentina says Britain's move to increase security on the islands now is political and provocative. Argentina has officially protested to several international organizations. More

  • Audio UN Agency Questions Thailand’s Air Safety

    The UN International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) reported “significant safety concerns” with Thailand’s air safety practices last week. The negative report may prevent some flights from coming out of the kingdom and forced Thailand’s government to deal quickly with the results on Monday. More

  • medieval

    Video US Restaurant Serves Medieval Art of Fighting

    European martial arts, unlike popular Asian martial arts, are not widely practiced and are unknown to most people. But, a restaurant near Washington is the center of an effort to make the Medieval fighting skill more popular. More

Featured Stories

  • Health workers take a blood sample from a child in Gusau, northern Nigeria.

    Audio Study: Women Prefer to Go to Female Health Workers

    A study in mainly Islamic communities in northern Nigeria found that women were more likely to see female health care workers. Male health workers do travel from town to town, but many women patients do not want to talk with a man about their own health care needs. More

  • A woman wakes up on downtown Los Angeles' Skid Row, March 7, 2013.

    Video Community Center Helps Women on Skid Row

    Many homeless people live in the “Skid Row” area of Los Angeles, California. These men and women have no permanent place to live. Skid Row is a place where many social service groups can be found. They work to help the homeless find work and a place to live. One such organization works with women. More

  • Audio New Treatment for AIDS Called a ‘Big Deal’

    Read on to learn words like mutate, neutralize and antiretroviral as you learn how researchers have found a way to trick HIV, the virus causing AIDS, into killing itself. The difficulty level might be high as this article describes what happens when a genetically modified cell becomes an HIV killer. More

  • Video Angelina Jolie Has Second Surgery to Prevent Cancer

    The 39-year-old actress published a piece in The New York Times about her decision to have her ovaries and fallopian tubes removed to protect herself from cancer. She had a double mastectomy two years ago for the same reason. The latest surgery leaves the mother of six unable to have more children. More

  • Space Rocket to Launch Weather Satellite Into Deep Space

    Video Satellite Will Watch Sun Storms, Send Warnings to Earth

    Strong storms on the sun can cause problems for satellites, radio communications and even airplane travel. A satellite is now traveling 1.5 million kilometers to enter the sun’s orbit, just in time to observe the extreme weather on the sun at its most violent time the sun’s 11-year cycle. More

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