Do you know where your participle is dangling? Martha and Grant salute National Grammar Day. Also, when you’re scribbling on a piece of paper, do you find yourself expecting spellcheck to kick in and underline your misspellings with squiggly red lines? A caller wants a term for the act of trying to do offline what can only be done online.

This episode first aired March 1, 2008.

Download the MP3.

 Celebrating Obscure National Holidays
Let’s see… there’s National Cheese Day on January 20, and of course National Iguana Awareness Day on September 8. So it’s only fitting that good grammar should get a day of its own, too. National Grammar Day has been proclaimed for March 4 by the the Society for the Promotion of Good Grammar, an organization for those “who crave good, clean English—sentences cast well and punctuated correctly.” The group’s site sums it up this way: “It’s about clarity.” Martha and Grant are down with that. So here’s to National Grammar Day and also to the wise cautionary note sounded by Baltimore Sun copy editor John McIntyre about the danger of getting too curmudegonly about it all.

 Booby Traps
A woman calls on behalf of her 12-year-old son, who wants to know the origin of the term “booby trap.” No, the hosts explain, the answer has nothing to do with brassieres. What about these strange fellows?

 Turkey Manhattans
A Wisconsin resident gets misty-eyed remembering the steaming plates of Beef Manhattan and Turkey Manhattan from his elementary-school days in central Indiana. But why the “Manhattan” in their names? How far back to do you remember eating it? Let us know.

 Lock, Stock, and Barrel
An equestrian wonders about the origin of the expression “lock, stock, and barrel.”

 Snowclones Word Game
Quiz Guy John Chaneski presents a word puzzle about snowclones, linguists’ joking term for twists on formulaic expressions.

 Online Behaviors Offline
Have you ever done something you regretted, and instinctively reached for the “undo” function, despite being nowhere near a computer? Maybe a page in your book accidentally turns and you reach for the browser’s back button? A Hoosier seeks a term for the act of trying to do offline what can only be done online.

 The First Laddie
The election’s still months away, but a caller in Okinawa, Japan wonders how the husband of a female U.S. president should be addressed if the husband himself is a former president. The hosts rule out “First Laddie.”

 Etymology of Piker
A caller wants to know the origin of the word piker, as in a “parsimonious person.”

 Bismark Doughnuts
Martha and Grant revisit a listener term for a particular doughnut, known as a “Bismark,” and share other listener mail about the “Bismarks” where they reside.

 Variations of Padiddle Game
A few episodes ago, Martha and Grant asked listeners for variations on the road-trip game of padiddle, and boy, did they oblige. For starters, how about all these names for the tail-light version of padiddle? Padunkle, padonkle, perdunkle, pasquaddle, paduchi, Popeye, and dinklepink. Personally, we can’t wait for the next time we’re out on the road at night.

 Goat’s Mouth and Happy Sack
This week’s Slang This! contestant tries to guess the meaning of the slang terms “goat’s mouth” and “happy sack.”

 Pleaded vs. Pled
A caller wants to know which is correct: pleaded or pled?

 The Life of Riley
An Indianapolis listener who lives on same street where James Whitcomb Riley made his home wonders if the poet’s name has anything to do with the expression associated with living in high style, “the life of Riley.” Click on the “lyrics” button on this transcription from a piano roll to see the full words to the song.

 Articles for Words with Vowel Sounds
A California caller gets a clarification about when to use “a” and “an” if the next word starts with a vowel sound.

This episode is hosted by Martha Barnette and Grant Barrett, and produced by Stefanie Levine.

Photo by Steven Gerner. Used under a Creative Commons license.

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36 Responses

  1. Rita O'Riley says:

    Hi! Your show is so fun! Thanks for keeping us amused while also exercising our intellect!
    I live in a suburb of Indy, and I was raised about 50 mi NE of downtown, in a city called Anderson. Our school lunches were being served a little later than your caller’s; I was in elementary throughout the 70’s, and I remember turkey and beef manhattans well. They weren’t my favorite lunch item, as the bread was frequently soggy, but I certainly wouldn’t look at him as a crazy man. Please let him know that we still have tenderloin sandwiches as big as a frisbee, and that they’re still served on buns as little as a baseball. 🙂

  2. Don Bonness, Kokomo, says:

    I moved to Terre Haute, IN in 1952. Some short time after moving, I became aware of beef manhattans served at diners, cafeterias, lunchcounters, etc. Later I also knew of turkey manhattans. A manhattan is a white bread sandwich of thickly(more or less) sliced meat topped with mashed potatoes and smothered in gravy. From your show, it sounds like some later versions used only one slice of bread. I now live in Kokomo, IN, and I believe somewhere in town I could still get a beef or turkey manhattan as a luncheon special.

  3. Martha Wild says:

    How about “deja undo” for a word to describe that feeling of wanting to done something onlife that you can do online?

  4. Jan says:

    Cyber-phantom or phantasmagoric

  5. Marty Lipton says:

    “The election’s still months away, but a caller in Okinawa, Japan wonders how the husband of a female U.S. president should be addressed if the husband himself is a former president. The hosts rule out “First Laddie.”

    Grant has it right…you would call Bill ‘Mr. Clinton’ not because it avoids a problem with the title of President but because only the occupant of the Oval Office has the right to be called by that title. All past presidents are “former president surname”. Both past presidents and current presidents are called “Mr.”. So if Hillary Clinton becomes president -she- would have to make a decision as to whether to be addressed as ‘Mrs. President’, ‘Ms. President’ or ‘Miss President’ as she prefers. Any time she was introduced, she would be President Clinton and he would be Mr. Clinton.

    One may get into the whole dilemma about actual usage trumping formal usage, but I think reserving the title of President to the current president actually serves a valid purpose and should be supported and preserved.

    On a related note, several years back Hillary chose to use her father’s surname as her middle name, declaring herself ‘Hillary Rodham Clinton’ in order to honor her dad. At the time, many people praised this as a very forward and feminist thing to do. This has bugged me mightily, having grown up in an era when ALL women took their father’s surname as middle name upon marriage. It had the feel of “I used to be owned by middle-name-guy and I am now owned by last-name-guy.” Hardly feminist and something that I (silly feminist that I am) had thought we had fought hard to stop doing. I hadn’t thought of it until just now, but maybe this is one reason I’m not a big Hillary fan?

    Love your show.

  6. Don and Rita, thanks for your contributions here. Boy, we really opened the floodgates with that turkey Manhattan call. People are even emailing us recipes and photos!

    Hmmmmmm, now I’m wondering if there’s a tofu Manhattan for the rest of us! 🙂

  7. Martha Wild (what a great name!), I love “deja undo.” That pretty much sums it up. And Jan, I was thinking somewhat along those same lines, pondering how to get “phantom” in there.

  8. But Marty, how many of those women actually included their father’s surname when referring to themselves? I don’t think many did.

  9. Rob says:

    I think the word is “E-flex.”

    The one that I always run into is wanting to search. If you’re reading a document online, you can always hit “Ctrl-F” to find exactly what you’re looking for. I often find myself facing a big hard-copy document and thinking I should search it … not just wishing that I could, but actually thinking I should, only for a moment, out of instinct or reflex.

    Hence, e-flex.

  10. Diane Altona says:

    Have you ever done something you regretted, and instinctively reached for the “undo” function, despite being nowhere near a computer? Maybe a page in your book accidentally turns and you reach for the browser’s back button? A Hoosier seeks a term for the act of trying to do offline what can only be done online.

    How about “to confuter”?

  11. cmanb says:

    I love the discussion about keystrokes trying to assert themselves in inappropriate contexts, because it is a sensation with which I am definitely familiar. Be it Grant’s “Command-Z” undo twitch, or Martha’s wishing that her office had a search function. (I am recovering from just recently moving from San Diego to Denver. I wish my whole life had a search function!”)

    As far as giving name to the sensation goes, I love Rob’s “e-flex” submission. “Oops, I guess my e-flexes got the better of me!”

    I like it because it implies unconscious muscle response, which falls in with Grant’s likening it to muscle memory. I agree with that reckoning because the phenomenon, understandably, seems to be limited to keystrokes, quick finger flits that can be performed unconsciously. I can’t imagine anybody having finger-jerk reactions involving an elaborate combination of motions, involving reaching for a mouse, navigating to a menu bar, and enabling the “spell-check” function. It has to have the speed and efficiency of a keystroke.

    It is very interesting to see virtual reality assert itself over actual reality. Our world, or rather the amount of time we spend these days in front of the monitor and keyboard, has created for us such an environment, which has in turn given us a defined set of expectations and parameters and tools, and we have grown so accustomed to working in this environment that we have developed a real frame of mind, a real way of thinking, and it of course feels natural to us to expect these same tools and contexts to be available to us anywhere else we go, be it in cyberspace or meatspace.

    Anyways, I enjoyed this segment of the show and spent a little time pondering a possible description for the feeling.

    “Phantom keyboard” seems like an appropriate clinical term.

    The other thing I came up with was a result of my wanting to reconcile the existence of keystrokes in the virtual world with the longing for them in the fleshy world, but the subsequent “fleshstrokes” did not sit quite right with me.


  12. Brad Chang says:

    Have you ever done something you regretted, and instinctively reached for the “undo” function, despite being nowhere near a computer? Maybe a page in your book accidentally turns and you reach for the browser’s back button? A Hoosier seeks a term for the act of trying to do offline what can only be done online. Post your suggestions here.

    I have suffered from this problem and have a perfect name for it.

    Early in my career, I was working on computers with mice and using paper reference materials at the same time. I would frequently look something up in the paper reference manual that was lying on my desk, then want to “copy” the same text into the computer. I would find myself moving my mouse towards the paper reference in hopes of “double clicking” on the paper and ink to copy it into my computer. But the little arrow just stopped at the edge of the screen and I would be jarred back into reality.

    I call this an attempted “Paper Click”.

  13. Anne says:

    I totally know what everyone means about the e-flex (that is totally the greatest of many great terms suggested so far for it IMHO), I am particularly inclined to want to ctrl+f paper documents.

    I was also interested in the discussion of the word “piker”. I don’t think I have heard that used where I am currently living in Florida, however where I am originally from in New Zealand it is a common term that just means someone who pulls out of some group activity they had said they would. So we would say “I hate to be a piker, but I’m not going to be there to go running at 6am tomorrow”.

    I don’t think it is particularly related to financial cheapness. I am pleased to hear about the US usage – I could have easily been confused if I did hear it here.

  14. chiquita says:

    Regarding the turkey and beef manhattans — I moved to Indiana only four years ago, but this week i have taken a poll and found people even from Evansville, the southernmost part of Indiana, refer to these dishes as manhattans. My friend Mike (age 28) says his grandfather owned a diner in Southern Indiana and this was always on the menu.

    I personally grew up in Tennessee, and I remember eating what would be called Roast Beef Manhattans here, but, for the life of me, I can’t remember what we called them in Tennessee.

    I also remember reading in the book “Fifteen at Last” by Candice Ransom a description of Turkey Manhattan, but it wasn’t necessary called that. It was served at a Drug Store diner in the book, which are almost as difficult to find as this book.

    I can attest that they taste scrumptious.

  15. Rob, I’m fanning myself over “e-flex.” That works on SO many levels, don’t you think? Thanks for that!

  16. Karen from Katy says:

    Grant and Martha- Thanks so much for answering my question (or rather, my son’s question) about “booby traps”. After listening to the podcast, my brother- who is stationed in Germany- sent me this comment. “Your clip sparked a conversation in our house though. Melanie (his wife) mentioned that the old ladies in the village refer to toddlers as “boobs.” We think it is slang over here for young children of breastfeeding age. It kind of fits in with what the hosts were saying about the origin of the word.” Thought you might enjoy hearing that.

    Also, you might be interested to know that our family’s new favorite word is “agathakakological”, a word we heard on one of your past shows. My 10-year-old daughter has been reading a book called “The Worst Witch Saves the Day” by Jill Murphy. One of the characters is someone who appears to be good, but in reality is very evil. Her name? Agatha Cackle! We thought our fellow word nerds would enjoy that fact, too.

  17. Glenn Atkinson says:

    I love Rob’s e-flex. I’ve called it techpraxia, and referred to myself as techpraxic. But that sounds too medical, and fails the tickle-the-tongue test.

    The question of “a” and “an” becomes really interesting (read troubling) for me when applied to acronyms. Lots of consonants, when spelled, start with vowel sounds, so they should take “an,” right?

    To echo Grant’s “a Euro” — or “a European traveller” — it is “a UFO” either when spelled out or pronounced as “yoofo,” and it is “an IRA” either when spelled out or pronounced as “eye-ra.”

    “An FBI agent,” of course. But people use the vowel vs. consonant rule based on spelling and write “a FBI agent.” I think that is wrong. By contrast, to use a recent caller’s favorite slang: “a FUBAR situation.” With “an LCD screen,” “an NCAA game,” “an FDR signature” — all these initial consonants start with vowel sounds

    But even if we decide it is the sound that matters, some acronyms are sometimes spelled and sometimes pronounced, leaving me perplexed. This is similar to the “homage” discussion in a recent episode: “a homage” when you pronounce the “h” sound; “an homage” when you prefer the Francophile pronunciation. So you need to be careful when writing:
    “an SAT exam” — (does anyone pronounce it like the past of “sit”? In that case it would be “a SAT exam”)
    “an SQL query” if you spell it out, but some DO pronounce it like “sequel” in which case it should be “a SQL query”

    I usually pause each time I need to write a/an before an acronym and research all the practices of pronunciation before I can decide. As a result, I usually recast the sentence to avoid the problem. Am I alone?

  18. Mike says:

    Not exactly a computer thing, but I usually drive a manual transmission. When I rent a car I often find myself pushing my left foot to the floor as I approach a red signal.

  19. Alysa says:

    I was thinking of the word “technify” to describe the desire to use technological keystrokes in non-technological settings. I thought of it because we had been discussing how much “abilify” sounds like a real word. Quantify and uglify are similar words that we use.

  20. AM says:

    I originally sent this comment as an E-mail message and Grant asked me to share my thoughts on the board —

    I wanted to respond to the discussion you had recently regarding what would be the proper form for addressing or referring to Bill Clinton in the event that Hillary Clinton is elected president. I really liked Grant’s conclusion that he should simply be called Mr. Clinton.

    I have been thinking about the broader issue surrounding this question for some time now and I have developed some strong feelings and I would be curious regarding your thoughts.

    I believe that people in general are used to and comfortable with the idea of giving deference to people that they regard as their leaders or superiors. However, I don’t think that people have really thought through what this means in a democratic society. I believe strongly that the people we choose or who are appointed to positions of responsibility are not our leaders; rather, they are our employees, our subordinates, if you will. And in that respect, they should be the ones offering deference to members of the general public, not the other way around.

    I really believe the idea that positions of public trust give the office holder a right to an elevated status or a title or honorific of some sort is a true violence visited upon the spirit of democracy.

    These are the things that I find particularly offensive (going from least offensive to most offensive):

    1. The conversion of the name of an office or a job title into an honorific. For example, I would prefer Mr. Bush, Ms. Rice, Mrs. Clinton, Mrs. Pelosi, and Mr. Roberts rather than President Bush, Secretary Rice, Senator Clinton, Speaker Pelosi, and Chief Justice Roberts. I realize that in some cases — particularly in writing — it is a convenient shorthand to use a job title as a personal title. However, I believe there is absolutely no excuse when you are addressing a person face-to-face. In particular, journalists, the guardians of democracy, should not (during press conferences, for instance) be granting this kind of deference to a person whose performance they are supposed to be monitoring. Furthermore, I believe that such job titles should be left in lower case, to emphasize the point. Thus — “Mr. Bush, the U.S. president …”

    2. The continued use of a title once a person has left office. This smacks of a kind of title of nobility, another thing that is, or should be, anathema to democracy. (I don’t agree with the point that only one person is due the honorific of “President.” I believe that no one is due such an honorific. However, if such an honorific is used, I don’t believe any one fellow citizen should be granted the kind of elevation implied by exclusive use.)

    3. The granting of a title merely because a person is the spouse or other relative of a person who holds public office. In this respect, I find the use of the term “First Lady” not only undemocratic but also condescending to women in general. Women should neither expect nor be granted honors of any kind based on the identity of the persons who might share their beds (and vice versa for that matter). One reason to hope for Hillary Clinton’s election is the possibility that, as Grant suggested, Bill Clinton might put an end to this nonsense.

    4. The addressing of people who hold offices such as attorney general and surgeon general as “General So-and-So.” This gets my biggest raspberry not only because it is offensive, but also because it just sounds stupid. Give me a break. They’re not generals.

  21. AM says:

    Couple other thoughts on topics addressed in this episode —

    1. Open-faced turkey-mashed-potato-and-gravy sandwiches. In Ohio, we called that a “turkey hotshot.”

    2. Piker – my only experience with this word was in reference to someone who either was wet behind the ears or was a country bumpkin, someone who had just “come down the pike.”

  22. Wordsmith says:

    In re: your first post: AM, are you for real? ‘Cause you’re scarin’ me, honey…

    Grant? Martha? Help!!!!!!! :0

  23. AM says:

    I’m dead serious. Does anything in my post suggest that I’m not? I think that for the most part people don’t give serious thought to what it really means to be dedicated to democracy and egalitarianism.

    My position flows from a simple idea: Public officials in a democratic system should not be offered symbolic deference from the people who are their employers, i.e., the general public. I invite you to engage this idea.

  24. Wordsmith says:

    I elect to decline, Ms.

    Egalitarianism is a relative idea: no two people are equal in every aspect.

    I’m not in any way suggesting a dictatorship, but with high offices come high duties, many of which are too much for most of us. I don’t see anything wrong with showing respect for someone who dedicates his/her time to making a nation more beneficial to all. I like the term “President”. And I’ll bet you there are several sane individuals who do too. You’ll notice that the mere bestowal of a title upon someone is no damage to your ego, unless that’s all you have…

  25. Rob says:

    AM … I respect your thoughtful post, but must disagree. My disagreement stems from a difference of opinion on the basis of your argument, that elected officials are not leaders but rather employees. I feel that, while this might hold true in a certain sense for elected representatives, it is fundamentally flawed when it comes to the elected executive. We do not “hire” our executives. We elect them. We elect them not to work for us, nor do we elect them to lead us, precisely. We elect them to lead the government of the day. As such, I have no issue calling the president President Bush nor my governor Governor Doyle.

    On the other hand, we sometimes do have hired executive leadership. I live, for example, in a moderately sized municipality that is, in its governmental structure, a village. That is, there is an elected council of at-large members that don’t represent a certain section of town, and there is no mayor. We elect the council and entrust them with the duty of doing the hiring for us, and they hire a village administrator who acts in many ways like a mayor, only less political. We do not call him or her “Administrator Smith” or whatever. In my case, my village is small enough that we call him Larry.

    What’s interesting to me as both a political/government professional and a word nerd is that the language we use to describe these people reflects our perception of the nature of our government. To put it simply, I do not subscribe to the “employee” analogy, so I do not shy away from honorific titles. (I also don’t subscribe to the “government should be run like a business” analogy, but that’s a discussion for another time and another board.)

    All that said, I’m with you entirely on “First Lady.” I don’t know why “Mrs. Bush” isn’t perfectly adequate.

  26. AM says:

    I don’t see how hiring versus electing makes a key difference here and my position doesn’t depend on that distinction. In any case, the only conceptual difference between “hiring” and “electing” (literally, “choosing”) is that in the first place, one or a small number of people hold the authority to “hire” whereas all citizens hold the authority to participate in the “election.” In both cases, some body of persons makes a choice as to who will serve in a position of responsibility.

    The basis of my thought here is that conceptually speaking a democracy is essentially an egalitarian program (that is, egalitarianism is essential to democracy) and thus positions of responsibility must not confer higher status on an individual, relative to ordinary citizens.

    Furthermore, I don’t see the distinction you make between executives and legislators. Indeed, it seems to me that the authors of the Constitution believed that the legislature was the superior body. Whether that is true (clearly, the Constitution sees the legislature at the very least as being equal to the executive), I think that the idea that the executive represents some kind of elevated status (whether over the legislature or over the public) is one that has resulted in concrete harm to democratic values.

    I also don’t believe that government should be run like a business. Government should be run as a service to the public and as a vehicle for collective action. “We elect them to lead the government of the day,” and that is a service to the public … serves the public … literally (in my mind) as a servant (subordinate) to the public. If they fail to serve adequately, they may be removed.

  27. AM says:

    “Egalitarianism is a relative idea: no two people are equal in every aspect.”

    It seems to me that if in no other aspect of life, the relationship between citizen and officeholder in a democracy should reflect the spirit of egalitarianism. A minor is unequal to a parent or a school official. An employee is unequal to an employer. A driver is unequal to a traffic cop. I see when your “no two people are equal in every aspect” applies in these cases.

    However, when the nature of the relationship between citizen and official is implicated, each citizen should be treated as equal to every other citizen, and the holder of a public office should not be treated as if he or she holds a higher status.

    “I don’t see anything wrong with showing respect …”

    And what I am trying to distinguish here are “respect” and “deference.” Every person is owned respect. There is no disrespect in offering the same level of courtesy to officeholders that one offers to non-officeholders.

    “… mere bestowal of a title upon someone is no damage to your ego …”

    I don’t know why this has to become personal. My ego? (And why did you choose to address me as “Ms.”? You don’t know my gender.)

    My ego is not at issue. The damage done is to the spirit of democracy. You’ll note that the Constitution specifically prohibits the granting of titles of nobility. So the Constitution does see some harm in “mere bestowal of a title.” The use of such status honorifics symbolize a recognition of differing status. Our governmental system recognizes (or should recognize) no such differences in status based on the holding of public office.

  28. Wordsmith says:

    AM said:
    I don’t know why this has to become personal.

    Who says it does? I was using “you” in the general sense. The way French uses “on” (we or one). If your (your very own; i.e., you, AM) ego is not at issue, then don’t bring it up…

    As for your other claims, I’m afraid I’m just not seeing eye-to-eye with you…

    You should consider starting your own blog as a means of venting your anger on this pig-headed phallocratic republic. Because, as it is, you’re making no headway here. We’ve seemingly reached a stalemate. Plus, let’s not neglect the other threads in this topic…

  29. AM says:

    Wordsmith, I could be wrong, but it seems to me that all your responses to me (unlike Rob’s, for example) have bordered on or crossed over into the personal. I have tried to limit my comments to an issue of usage, but your first response was to wonder about my mental health. I had to invite you to actually discuss the issue. And now you take it upon yourself to suggest, using sarcastic language and implications, that I stop discussing the issue. I am new to this board and am unfamiliar with the customs, but it seems to me that on a discussion board, someone who is no longer interested in a topic can choose to leave it alone; it seems presumptuous and condescending to offer instructions to other posters in this manner.

  30. Wordsmith says:

    Yes, you are wrong. 🙂

  31. Tracy says:

    Regarding the “real-life undo” term, I came up with a hybrid of Martha Wild’s deja-undo and Rob’s e-flex (accidentally, it was before I got online): “e-ja-vu”. But I think I prefer Rob’s e-flex, since, for me anyway, it really is a reflex and not a feeling of having experienced the need to undo before.

    Thanks for a great term Rob!

  32. Joie de Vivienne says:

    I too have heard “piker” as a term to describe a sort of country bumpkin, though it was more derogatory, what Grant calls a “fightin’ word”. It came up when I was living in Ireland as an alternative to “knacker” (when I asked what that term meant) A piker was described to me as a (usually white) person who lives in a trailer, has many cars rusting on the front lawn, and does not want to work for a living.

    There was an implication of criminality, they were often described as thieves. The term seemed to equate to what would have been called “white trash” where I’m from in southern Indiana.

    “Knacker” was the hip or young version of the term, whereas “piker” might have been used by their parents.

    Interestingly, since I returned home, I’ve noticed that the term is being adopted by young people in Northern Ireland and England (seen on myspace and similar public forums), and used subversively to describe themselves when they’re living a sort of “starving artist” lifestyle. It’s seen as a sort of “street cred” title, particularly for those in the punk rock community.

  33. Joie, that’s really interesting. (And which of those two words are you saying is being adopted as a kind of “street cred” title? Knacker or piker?

    And where in So. Indiana? Marengo? Paioli? Cementville? Birdseye? Huntingburg? (Pardon me while I take a little stroll down Memory Lane here….) 🙂

  34. Joie de Vivienne says:

    I’m from a tiny one-stoplight town called Nineveh. Well, really, we had one flashin’ light, but the bulb burned out about 7 years ago, so you’re just supposed to know to stop now 😛 We’re about 30 minutes from Nashville and 45 minutes from Bloomington and Indiana University (I grew up always having to qualify, I’ll be impressed if you’ve heard of it).

    Coming from such a small town, I had to wonder if I was a “knacker” which prompted the conversation in Ireland…

    To answer your question, in my experience “piker” was a term that had been adopted by the youth to describe themselves, whereas “knacker” was still viewed as derogatory. According to the kids “round the pub” knackers are not socially aware enough to know that they are being described as such.

    This last bit, mind you, came from a very small group of kids ages 12-28 in a TINY town in western Ireland (less than 75 people) –in larger cities such as Galway, the definition varied just a bit and the word knacker was completely unknown in Northern Ireland. I’d be curious to hear a native speaker’s take on the issue.

  35. John says:

    Just as the key ingredient for beef manhattan is left overs, this is a bit of a left over comment. My son heard your show in March and lately asked if I knew what a beef mahattan is. Of course I said EVERYONE knows that.

    Well today listening to the episode I discovered that I am wrong and this seems to a be particularly local dish/name. I agree with the probable school cafeteria origin as I can remember these from about 1950 in the Crooked Creek (Indianapolis) school lunches.

    I was further surprised at how little info there is on the web. In the entire Google universe there are only 7900 entries for Beef Manhatten. I have heard of “hot brown” but excused that as coming from someone that was just out of touch. 🙂

    As someone in a blog entry from Ft.Wayne mentioned, “now I am hungry for one”.

  36. Enjoyed your leftover there, John! Bon appetit!