Martha BarnetteMartha Barnette is co-host of the public-radio show A Way with Words, heard each week by listeners on National Public Radio affiliates across North America, and worldwide by podcast. The show’s about words and how we use them — word and phrase origins, slang, regional dialects, writing well, books and reading, and that weird thing Grandma used to say.

Martha holds an undergraduate degree in English from Vassar College, and did graduate work in classical languages at the University of Kentucky. She studied Spanish in Costa Rica at the ILISA Language Institute.

Before her work in radio, Martha was a reporter for the Washington Post and an editorial writer for the Louisville Courier-Journal. She’s the author of three books on word origins: A Garden of Words, Ladyfingers & Nun’s Tummies: A Lighthearted Look at How Foods Got Their Names, and Dog Days & Dandelions.

In 2004, Martha joined A Way with Words, now produced by Wayword, Inc., the 501(c)(3) educational nonprofit that produces and distributes the program with support from listeners and underwriters.


Mt. Baldy, on the way up to 10,064′

A Kentucky native, she lives in San Diego, where she can be found hiking mountain trails and performing musical improv comedy at Finest City Improv.

More about A Way with Words at And check out A Way with Words At Home: The Video Version.

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