Things That Come Out of Your Mouth: TMSIDK Episode 4

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Real-Time Human Fact Checker and WNYC Studios producer Sean Rameswaram reacts to an astonishing new fact. (Photo: Lucy Sutton)

Real-Time Human Fact Checker and WNYC Studios producer Sean Rameswaram reacts to an astonishing new fact. (Photo: Lucy Sutton)

“LOL” is one of the most commonly texted acronyms. It ostensibly means “laughing out loud” — or “lots of love” if you’re Winston Churchill — but a linguistics researcher from Columbia University challenges both of those meanings on this week’s episode of Tell Me Something I Don’t KnowIt’s not that the letters “LOL” stand for something else, but that LOL takes on its own implied meaning.

This episode, which we’re calling “Things That Come Out of Your Mouth,” also includes stories of marine regurgitation and a group of opera singers that no longer exists.

The panelists are: Frank Delaney, novelist, podcast host, and “the world’s most eloquent man,” John McWhorter, Columbia University linguist and host of the Lexicon Valley podcast, Mehmet Oz, better known as Dr. Oz, Columbia professor of surgery and TV host. Our “Real-Time Human Fact-Checker” is Sean Rameswaram, who produces podcasts for WNYC Studios, including Radiolab’s Supreme Court spinoff, More Perfect.

So what does “LOL” actually mean? You’ll have to listen to the podcast to find out.