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Preview: Double-Tongued Dictionary

A Way with Words



A radio program and podcast about language.



Last Build Date: Tue, 25 Apr 2017 20:22:04 +0000

 



Coast is Clear

Tue, 25 Apr 2017 00:00:59 +0000

In the military, if you’ve lost the bubble, then you can’t find your bearings. The term first referred to calibrating the position of aircraft and submarines. • The phrase the coast is clear may originate in watching for invaders arriving by sea. • A dispute over how to pronounce the name of a savory avocado [...]


Media Files:
http://feeds.waywordradio.org/~r/awwwpodcast/~5/tu_osZ-g8UI/170424-AWWW-Coast-is-Clear.mp3




A Lemon is Defective

Mon, 24 Apr 2017 15:51:47 +0000

If the car you bought is a lemon, it’s defective. This negative use of lemon derives from the tart taste of this fruit, which first inspired an association with a sourpuss, then a generally disappointing person, and then finally a similarly disappointing product. This is part of a complete episode.



Clinonania and Dysania

Mon, 24 Apr 2017 15:51:47 +0000

The words clinomania and dysania both refer to extreme difficulty getting out of bed in the morning. This is part of a complete episode.



Fussbudget vs. Fussbucket

Mon, 24 Apr 2017 15:51:47 +0000

A fussbudget is someone who’s “ill-tempered” or “overly critical,” the -budget in this term deriving from an old word for “purse” or “pouch.” Variants include fussy-budget, fuss-a-budget, and fussbucket. This is part of a complete episode.



Fifty Ks South of Woop Woop

Mon, 24 Apr 2017 15:51:47 +0000

In Australian slang, Woop Woop is a joking term for any remote town, and if you want to denote someplace even more remote, you can describe it as 50 k south of Woop Woop. This is part of a complete episode.



Lose the Bubble

Mon, 24 Apr 2017 15:51:47 +0000

To lose the bubble means “to lose track” or “lose one’s bearings,” and refers to the bubble in an inclinometer on an airplane or ship, much like the bubble in a carpenter’s level. It’s described in detail in Gene Rochlin’s Trapped in the Net: The Unanticipated Consequences of Computerization. This is part of a complete [...]



Tennyson’s Brook

Mon, 24 Apr 2017 15:51:47 +0000

The expression on and on like Tennyson’s brook describes something lengthy or seemingly interminable, like a long-winded speaker. The phrase is a reference to a lovely poem by Alfred Lord Tennyson about the course of a body of water. This is part of a complete episode.



Two-Hander

Mon, 24 Apr 2017 15:51:47 +0000

Two-hander is theater jargon for a play that features just two people. This is part of a complete episode.



21 in Celsius

Mon, 24 Apr 2017 15:51:47 +0000

In response to our conversation about euphemistic terms for one’s age, a listener says that he fudged his age on his last big birthday by telling friends he’d turned 21 in Celsius. This is part of a complete episode.



Where You At?

Mon, 24 Apr 2017 15:51:47 +0000

A listener in Marquette, Michigan, says her daughters criticize her for saying where you at? They argue that the word at in this case is unnecessary. In many cases, this phrase is indeed a pleonasm, but Grant explains that in some contexts this use of the word at plays a particular linguistic role to convey [...]