Dude! We’re used to hearing the word “dude” applied to guys. But increasingly, young women use the word “dude” to address each other. Grant and Martha talk about linguistic research about the meaning and uses of “dude.” Also, the story behind the term “eavesdropping.” Originally, it referred to the act of standing outside someone’s window. Plus: by and large, by the seat of your pants, drawing room, snowhawk, Netflix o’clock, glegged up, quarry, and that’s all she wrote.
This episode first aired February 2, 2014.
You have 30 cows, and 28 chickens. How many didn’t? (Yep, that’s the riddle: How many didn’t?)
Back in the 1930s, airplane pilots didn’t have sophisticated instruments to tell them which way was up. When flying through clouds, they literally relied on changes in the vibrations in their seat to help them stay on course, flying by the seat of their pants. The phrase later expanded to mean “making it up as you go along.”
The idiom by and large, an idiom commonly known to mean “in general,” actually combines two sailing terms. To sail by means you’re sailing into the wind. To sail large, means that you have the wind more or less at your back. Therefore, by and large encompasses the whole range of possibilities.
After a long day of work, you settle in to binge-watch House of Cards, only to discover that everyone else in your time zone wants to watch the same thing, bogging down the Netflix stream. That’s Netflix o’clock.
Looking glegged up, with staring into space with the mouth agape, comes from glegged, which shows up in some old dialect dictionaries meaning “to look askance.”
Quiz Guy John Chaneski has a puzzle about subtracting letters from words.
The term eavesdropping arose from the practice of secretly listening to conversations while standing in the eavesdrip, the gap between houses designed to keep rain dripping off one roof and onto the next.
Our American Cousin, the farce being performed when President Lincoln was shot at Ford’s Theatre, had some choice lines of bumpkin talk. One of them, “You sockdologizing old man-trap!,” was the play’s biggest laugh line, after which John Wilkes Booth fired the fatal shot.
How about this riddle? A man leaves home. He goes a little ways and turns a corner. He goes a while and turns another corner. Soon, he turns one more corner. As he’s returning home, he sees two masked men. Who are they?
Research shows that dude, once associated exclusively with males, is often used in the vocative sense to address groups or individuals, including females.
Drawing room, known for people taking turns about it, is short for withdrawing room, as in, withdrawing from the dining room while it’s being prepped or cleaned.
Cute, which comes from acute, once meant “shrewd and perceptive”–”sharp,” in other words–rather than “adorable.”
“The Quarry,” a famous painting of a buck carcass by Gustave Courbet, is a hint to another definition of quarry: the guts of an animal given to dogs after a hunt.
An Apache proverb goes It is better to have less thunder in the mouth and more lightning in the hand.
That’s all she wrote, a reference to old Dear John letters, pops up in this song by Ernest Tubb.
How do sports idioms translate to other languages in cultures where the sport isn’t popular?
Photo by Caitlin Regan. Used under a Creative Commons license.