May 04, 2016 19:17 UTC

Words and Their Stories

Words and Their Stories programs explain idioms and expressions that many learners of American English find difficult to understand.


4:32 PM - 4:39 PM April 29, 2016

From Shakespeare’s Pen to Our Mouths


6:51 PM - 6:56 PM April 21, 2016

Pyramid vs. Ponzi Scheme


6:00 PM - 6:07 PM April 15, 2016

Does This Story Have Legs?


7:45 PM - 7:51 PM April 07, 2016

Express Your "Self"


4:28 PM - 4:35 PM March 31, 2016

Don’t Be Fooled


10:02 PM - 10:07 PM March 23, 2016

The World Needs More Renaissance People


1:38 PM - 1:44 PM March 17, 2016

Expressions from Alice in Wonderland


12:48 AM - 12:53 AM March 03, 2016

How to Talk About Everything


10:52 PM - 10:57 PM February 23, 2016

An Exercise in Breathing


9:23 PM - 9:27 PM February 17, 2016

Touch: One Word, Many Uses


5:41 PM - 5:46 PM February 11, 2016

Let's Talk About Love, Baby


6:39 PM - 6:44 PM February 03, 2016

Are You a Snow Bird or Snow Bunny?


8:17 PM - 8:22 PM January 27, 2016

The Language of a Blizzard


6:50 PM - 6:55 PM January 21, 2016

Life in the Fast Lane


7:29 PM - 7:34 PM January 14, 2016

Will: Do you have it?


6:42 PM - 6:47 PM January 08, 2016

Let’s Get Down to the Nitty-Gritty


10:09 PM - 10:14 PM December 31, 2015

How to 'Steal' A Kiss


11:13 PM - 11:18 PM December 23, 2015

What Is Your Achilles' Heel?


5:48 PM - 5:53 PM December 18, 2015

This Holiday Season, Don't Be A Scrooge!


6:42 PM - 6:47 PM December 10, 2015

Burning Your Bridges Could Be Bad Career Move

    Audio From Shakespeare’s Pen to Our Mouths

    April 23 is celebrated around the world as William Shakespeare’s birthday. There is probably no other writer who has influenced the English language more than the Bard of Avon, as he known to some. Read on to learn about some popular sayings that came from his works.

    Pyramid vs. Ponzi Scheme. Which One Is Worse?

    When you work hard for your money, you do not want to lose it. And if you invest your hard-earned money, you want to see great returns. But if you’re looking to invest money, be careful! We have an expression: If a deal is too to be true, it probably is.

    Video Does This Story Have Legs?

    Legs are useful – for moving around and for expressing yourself! Read on to learn useful English expressions using the word “legs” and in which situations you can use them.

    Audio Express Your 'Self'

    This show is all about you! Learn about the many uses of the word “self.” This useful word change make just about everything about … you!

    Audio Don’t Be Fooled

    April Fools’ Day is a strange tradition. You are supposed to play a trick or a practical joke on someone. But be careful. You don’t want to be fooled, actually, be very careful.

    Video The World Needs More Renaissance People

    Someone with many abilities often is called a “Jack-of-all-trades” or a “Renaissance person.” A Renaissance man or a Renaissance woman is a little different. This expression deals with a person’s education and knowledge, not so much with his or her skills.

    Audio Alice in Wonderland Expressions

    The book “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland” is just over 150 years old. But this classic story gives us great characters and expressions. These have found their way into American English. Let’s figure how to use them!

    Audio Please Don't Boycott Us!

    Boycott, a word often in the news, is a form of protest. But do you know where it comes from? The origin of this word is a "cautionary tale," a warning. Read on to learn the roots of "boycott" and many words related to tenants rights.

    Video How Do You Talk About Everything?

    What words do we use to describe ... everything? Learn what "from cradle to grave," "everything under the sun" and "everything but the kitchen sink" have in common. At the end of the article, watch a video of a natural conversation using some of the expressions heard in this story.

    Video Just Breathe

    Our breath gives us life. It gives us energy. And the word "breath" also gives us some great expressions! Come with us to an ocean as two friends on a scuba vacation take a "breather" from their busy jobs.

    Audio Touch: One Word, Many Uses

    Touch. It is one of our five senses. It is our first language. And it is very useful in everyday American English. Master this word with a lively dialogue.

    Video Let's Talk About Love, Baby

    Valentine’s Day is a day for love and romantic thoughts. But love can be difficult to talk about. Not to fear. This Words and Their Stories comes just in time to help you talk about the love in your life.

    Video Are You a Snowbird or Snow Bunny?

    Many people love a big snowstorm, such as snow bunnies. Snow bunnies are not cute little animals that hop around on the ground. Some Americans dislike cold weather so much they go to a warmer climate to escape it. These people are called snowbirds.

    Audio Do You Know This Blizzard of New Words?

    People all over the world love to talk about weather. Today, we talk about expressions that come from extreme winter weather. Winters in the northern United States are cold and snowy. Sometimes, the snows come with extremely strong winds. These snowstorms are called blizzards.

    Audio Life in the Fast Lane

    It can be said that the United States is a driving culture. The U.S., after all, is a big country and many Americans love cars. What is life in the fast lane like? Find out and learn other idioms from the road.

    Audio Will: Do You Have It?

    Today we talk about a seemingly simple four-letter word: will. But do not be fooled. The word will is a strong noun and a powerful verb. As a verb, will requires you to do something. If you say you will take action, you have promised to do it with no excuses -- no ifs, ands or buts.

    Audio Let's Get Down to the Nitty-Gritty!

    Words that rhyme are common in English. Nitty-gritty is both a noun and an adjective. New York City and other urban cities can be described as nitty-gritty, or rough around the edges. Read on to find out all the ways you can use this informal rhyming word. Let's get down to the nitty-gritty!

    Audio Have You Ever 'Stolen' A Kiss?

    Anna Matteo weaves a tale about Words and Their Stories with a song about lost loves. Around the holidays, a man runs into a woman in the grocery store. They were once in love. They share memories together and then ... Here's Anna's story.

    Audio What Is Your Achilles' Heel?

    On your body, your Achilles’ heel is the tendon on the back of your ankle. In spoken English, your Achilles’ heel is your weak spot. You can say either “Achilles’ heel” or “Achilles’(s) heel.” Both are correct.

    Audio This Holiday Season, Don't Be A Scrooge!

    On today’s show, we will explore two words that come from one of the most popular Christmas stories made into a movie: “A Christmas Carol.” Writer Charles Dickens wrote “A Christmas Carol” in 1843. Ebenezer Scrooge is the main character of the story.

The Day in Photos

Two boys smiles after shaving their heads during a service to celebrate Buddha's upcoming 2,560th birthday on May 14, at Jogye Temple in Seoul, South Korea, May 2, 2016.

Two boys smiles after shaving their heads during a service to celebrate Buddha's upcoming 2,560th birthday on May 14, at Jogye Temple in Seoul, South Korea, May 2, 2016.

Word of the Day

observe (verb)i
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04/18/2016

observe (verb)

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