Like everything, language has a life cycle. Words are born, they grow and change, and then, yes, they die. But what happens to dead words? Professor Anne Curzan explains how some words die while others worm their way into familiar words and phrases and still whisper to us—from “werewolf” and “midwife,” and even, to boot, from old wives' tales.

To view more language lessons, click here.

Video production by Natalie Condon and Rob Hess.