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Preview: Double-Tongued Dictionary

A Way with Words



A radio program and podcast about language.



Last Build Date: Tue, 10 Jan 2017 22:33:58 +0000

 



Flee Fly Flo

Mon, 02 Jan 2017 18:39:31 +0000

Wrapping up 2016 with words from the past year and some newsy limericks. Bigly and Brexit were on lots of lips this year, as well as an increasingly popular Danish word that means “cozy.” Also, Quiz Guy John Chaneski sums up the year in newsy limericks about movies, science, and the Nobel Prize. Finally, an [...]


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http://traffic.libsyn.com/awww/161231-AWWW-Flee-Fly-Flo.mp3




Boodler

Mon, 02 Jan 2017 16:51:47 +0000

A boodler is someone involved in political graft or corruption. The word likely derives from Dutch boedel, meaning “property.” This is part of a complete episode.



Alte Kacker, Old Cocker

Mon, 02 Jan 2017 16:51:47 +0000

A Tallahassee, Florida, listener heard an interview in which actor William H. Macy referred to old cockers, apparetly meaning “old fellows.” Although one meaning of cocker is “pal,” Macy was probably alluding to the Yiddish alte kacker, or alter kacker, meaning “old man.” It’s sometimes abbreviated AK, and literally translates as “old person who defecates.” [...]



Nyello

Mon, 02 Jan 2017 16:51:47 +0000

Responding to our conversation about concluding a phone call with mmm-bye, a listener offers an example of a humorous telephone greeting: “Nyello!” This is part of a complete episode.



Holiday, A Missed Spot

Mon, 02 Jan 2017 16:51:47 +0000

Holiday is an old term for a spot missed when painting or wiping a surface. It’s mentioned in Grose’s 1811 Dictionary of the Vulgar Tongue. This is part of a complete episode.



Six and Eight

Mon, 02 Jan 2017 16:51:47 +0000

A San Diego, California, listener recalls that when asked “How’s it going?” his father would often respond “same old six and eight.” It may be a variation of the British expression “same old seven and six,” meaning “seven shillings and sixpence,” a once-common total for the cost of some types of government-issued licenses. This is [...]



Barrow Pit

Mon, 02 Jan 2017 16:51:47 +0000

A caller in Fort Laramie, Wyoming, refers to a roadside ditch as a borrow pit, as if the dirt dug from it was “borrowed” to form the raised surface of the road. It’s a misinterpretation of the original term, barrow pit, deriving from barrow, meaning “mound.” This is part of a complete episode.



Mmm-Bye

Mon, 02 Jan 2017 16:51:47 +0000

Listeners respond to our earlier conversation about ending a telephone call with mmm-bye. This is part of a complete episode.



What To Call a Parent Who Loses a Child

Mon, 02 Jan 2017 16:51:47 +0000

Although in English we have the terms orphan, widow, and widower, our language lacks a one-word term that means “bereaved parent.” A few other languages have a word for this, including Hebrew sh’khol and Sanskrit vilomah. This is part of a complete episode.



Stay Woke

Mon, 02 Jan 2017 16:51:47 +0000

The slang term woke, as in stay woke, arose among African-Americans to refer to being aware of social injustice or racism, and then doing something about it in one’s own life. This is part of a complete episode.