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.
Grant Barrett said "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.
I've been trying unsuccessfully for years to revive the old Scottish hunting term gralloch, defined as "to disembowel a stag". It's a perfect metaphor for the process of painstakingly debugging a failing program to see exactly where and how it's going wrong.
A few words on this show are still fairly used in New Zealand.
Skedaddle is often used to herd children out of the way. e.g. "You lot, skedaddle out of the kitchen". This fits nicely with the image of an unorganised retreat. My school teacher wife says that she and others use it on their class to get them moving from A to B.
It is also sometimes used as an informal way to excuse yourself. If I was at a bar with a friend, he may look at his watch, down the rest of his drink and sigh.. "Well, I better skedaddle".
The other word is the alternate use of "cute". No one here (in New Zealand) would bat an eyelid at hearing cute being used like that. Although we tend to phrase it as "being cute", and is used when someone gets away with something. It is used a lot in sports commentary. e.g. someone lands a 'hail mary' shot in basketball from halfway as the buzzer is going off. The commentator might say " he was being cute there", getting away with something he probably shouldn't have.
If I try and help my father to use his phone and get frustrated and snap at him, he might reply "Don't try and get cute with me , kiddo".
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