Chrysti the Wordsmith

Series produced by Chrysti M. Smith

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2 minute modules on the etymology of words and phrases

Chrysti the Wordsmith explores the rich and ever-changing words in our English language -- the history behind them, how we use them and how they evolve. Each vignette is a journey into word derivations through a myriad of languages, legends, customs and cultures. Often, the trail winds through surprising territory.

The two-minute audio interlude are produced at KGLT-FM, Montana State University-Bozeman. The host is Chrysti M. Smith, author of Verbivore's Feast: A Banquet of Word & Phrase Origins (available at Farcountry Press and Amazon.com). The original music is by classical guitarist Stuart Weber. The series airs internationally six times daily on Armed Forces Radio.


10 Pieces

Order by: Newest First | Oldest First
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The expression "the opera ain't over until the fat lady sings" gained national attention in 1978.

Bought by KSVR Studios: Skagit Valley Radio and WUAL


  • Added: Jul 19, 2005
  • Length: 02:03
  • Purchases: 2
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Jules Leotard is the eponym of the costume worn by dancers, gymnasts and acrobats.

Bought by KSVR Studios: Skagit Valley Radio


  • Added: Jul 19, 2005
  • Length: 02:02
  • Purchases: 1
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The Full Monty means "the entire amount, the whole enchilada." Why?

  • Added: Jul 19, 2005
  • Length: 02:03
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"Dressed to the nines," like so many English idioms, is a mysterious expression.

  • Added: Jul 19, 2005
  • Length: 02:02
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Who were the original Amazons, and why do they share a name with the South American river and the bookselling giant amazon.com?

Bought by KVNF


  • Added: Jul 15, 2005
  • Length: 02:03
  • Purchases: 1
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The genesis of the phrase "rule of thumb" is uncertain.

  • Added: Apr 15, 2005
  • Length: 02:03
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The story behind the coinage of the common expression "good Samaritan."

  • Added: Apr 15, 2005
  • Length: 02:03
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A discussion of the etmology of the word epitaph.

  • Added: Apr 15, 2005
  • Length: 02:02
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Origin and evolution of the word "dope."

  • Added: Apr 15, 2005
  • Length: 02:03
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A discussion of the origin of the expression "the best laid plans of mice and men often go awry."

Bought by KMRE-LP and KHSU


  • Added: Apr 15, 2005
  • Length: 02:02
  • Purchases: 2