March 05, 2015 16:02 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 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


12:40 AM - 12:45 AM January 18, 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.


5:08 PM - 5:13 PM January 16, 2015

Has Fate Brought Us Together?


12:40 AM - 12:45 AM January 11, 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.


10:09 PM - 10:15 PM January 06, 2015

Words and Their Stories: Homeland


12:40 AM - 12:45 AM January 04, 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 December 28, 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 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.

    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

    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

Learn with The News

  • Miners arrive to help with the rescue effort in Zasyadko coal mine in Donetsk March 4, 2015. A blast at the coal mine in the eastern Ukrainian rebel stronghold of Donetsk killed more than 30 people, a local official said on Wednesday, with dozens more min

    Audio At Least 33 Dead in Ukraine Mine Explosion

    A coal mine exploded early Wednesday in the rebel-held city of Donetsk. Also in the news, the US Justice Department released its Ferguson police department report; China has announced it will increase its military spending by 10 percent; and Mexico captured a Zetas drug leader. More

  • Video UK Group Brings Eyeglasses to Rwanda

    Most people in developed countries do not have a problem getting prescription eyeglasses. They go to an ophthalmologist -- a trained specialist who treats problems and diseases of the eye. But in poor countries like Rwanda, it may take a lot more time, effort and money. More

  • FILE - A construction crew works on a site where a new hospital is planned, in Navua, Fiji.

    Audio China's Aid to South Pacific Rises

    A new report says China alone has provided $1.4 billion in foreign aid to the South Pacific region. The researchers say China is likely to become the region's third-biggest donor after Australia and the United States. It says the aid might help ease tensions between China and countries in the area. More

  • FILE -  People sit by a tent at a makeshift camp in Calais, northern France, Sept. 7, 2014.

    Audio Paris Tent Camp a Sign of Troubles Facing Asylum Seekers

    France has Europe’s second largest number of asylum seekers. Rights activists have criticized their treatment in France. The most recent criticism came from the Council of Europe, Europe’s top rights group. Now, French lawmakers are considering a plan to improve the asylum process. More

  • Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu speaks before a joint meeting of Congress on Capitol Hill in Washington, March 3, 2015.

    Audio Israeli PM: Iran Nuclear Talks Are a ‘Very Bad Deal’

    Benjamin Netanyahu spoke to US lawmakers Tuesday. Also in the news, Sec. of State Kerry and Iranian Foreign Minister Zarif meet for a second day to discuss Iran's nuclear program; Russia blocks European leaders from Nemtsov funeral; and North Korea says joint military exercises could spark war More

Featured Stories

  • FILE - An embryologist works on a petri dish at a London fertility clinic.

    Audio 'Three-Person Babies' Debate Goes Beyond Science and Religion

    Mitochondrial Replacement Therapy uses the genetic material from three people to create babies. The stated purpose of the therapy is to help mothers avoid passing genetic mutations to their babies. Some say MRT will lead to 'designer babies.' Others say it is dangerous, immoral or just wrong. More

  • Steam and smoke is seen over the coal burning power plant in Gelsenkirchen, Germany, on Wednesday, Dec. 16, 2009. Coal power plants are among the biggest producer of CO2, that is supposed to be responsible for climate change.

    Audio Capturing CO2 Is Costly and Difficult

    Most scientists agree that increasing amounts of carbon-dioxide gas in the atmosphere is partly to blame for climate change. Climate change can have a big effect on weather conditions around the world. Scientists are looking for the best and least costly methods for capturing the gas. More

  • Kerry and Declan Reichs (Courtesy Photo)

    Video Choosing to Be a Single Mother

    U.S. officials say birth rates for unmarried women over age 40 have been rising in recent years. In fact, the rate in 2012 was almost 30 percent higher than just five years earlier. There are single mothers by choice. They are generally older, successful, well-educated, and financially secure. More

  • Audio Young Writer’s Plays Explore Race, Identity in America

    Branden Jacobs-Jenkins' latest play 'An Octoroon,' is showing at a theater in New York City. It is based on a 19th Century work by Dion Boucicault. It tells about a white man who falls in love with a woman who is part black. At the time, mixed race marriage was banned in southern US states. More

  • Audio Understanding the Misunderstood Teenage Brain

    A common battle cry of teenagers to adults is, "You just don't understand me!" Well, they might be right. A brain scientist (neuroscientist) and mother to two teenagers says the teenage brain is quite different from the adult brain. She "debunks," or clears up three common myths about teenagers. More

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