A woman whose mother is a native Spanish speaker learning English was bothered when her daughter used the phrase “You can’t teach an old dog new tricks,” taking offense at the idea that her daughter was calling her a dog. She might instead have used “A leopard can’t change its spots,” or “As the twig is bent, so inclines the tree,” and from Latin, “Senex psittacus negligit ferulam,” or “An old parrot doesn’t mind the stick.” This is part of a complete episode.
- Coast is Clear 04/24/2017: 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... [more]
- Sweet Dreams 04/08/2017: In deafening workplaces, like sawmills and factories, workers develop their own elaborate sign language to discuss everything from how their weekend went to when the... [more]
- Gone to Seed 04/03/2017: This week on A Way with Words: Restaurant jargon, military slang, and modern Greek turns of phrase. • Some restaurants now advertise that they sell... [more]
- Two-Word Rhyme Quiz 04/03/2017: Quiz Guy John Chaneski's challenge requires removing an initial letter from one word to form a two-word rhyme. For example, what two rhyming words are... [more]
- Huss n Military Slang 04/03/2017: A Marine Corps veteran in Omaha, Nebraska, is puzzled by a phrase he often heard during his service in Vietnam: give me a huss, meaning... [more]