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15 by 15, Series 2 Episode 4 of 5

Hardeep Singh Kohli chooses a word and sets off on an exploration into its origins, meeting people for whom it has different associations. He hopes to learn 15 things along the way.

Today's word is 'jam', and etymologist Susie Dent is on hand to explain the origin of the word as an onomatopoeic sound of the jaws 'champing' or chomping away at food. Soon it developed the meaning of being squeezed or trapped, and first appeared in Daniel Defoe's 'Robinson Crusoe'.

Hardeep encounters Russell Holden who reports on traffic jams across the UK and, on a more tasty track, he samples the preserves of Emmerline Smy, who has been making jams, jellies and chutneys for 20 years.

Susie Dent shows how the musical sense of 'jam' came along in the 30's, and Hardeep visits the Blues Jam at The Globe in Hackney and a Maths jam in Holborn.

Producer: Richard Bannerman
A Ladbroke production for BBC Radio 4.

Release date:

15 minutes

Last on

Tue 26 Nov 2013 09:30