It used to be that you called any mixed-breed dog a mutt. But at today’s dog parks, you’re just as likely to run into schnugs, bassadors, and dalmadoodles. Also, if someone has a suntan, you might say he’s brown as a berry. But then, when’s the last time you saw a berry that was brown? The story behind this phrase goes all the way back to Chaucer. And do you want your doctor practicing preventive medicine — or preventative? Plus, at bay, buy the farm, hand-running, all intents and purposes vs. all intensive purposes, silly Bible jokes, and hilariously useless lines from foreign language phrasebooks.
This episode first aired April 25, 2014.
Keeping At Bay
Keeping something at bay comes from the baying sound that hunting dogs make when they’ve got their prey in a standoff.
Expression from The Canterbury Tales
Brown as a berry goes back to Chaucer and the 1300’s, when brown was the new dark purple.
Phrases with “O” Quiz
Our Quiz Master John Chaneski has a game that’s all about the letter O.
Gawpy is an old term for “foolish,” and refers to the image of a person gaping stupidly.
Preventive vs. Preventative
The term preventive is much more common than preventative, particularly in American English, but it’s just a matter of preference. No need to get argumentative about it.
Put the Chairs in the Wagon
One folksy way to take leave after a visit is to say, It’s time to put the chairs in the wagon.
The Big Inning
God is a baseball fan, according to one of our listeners. It’s right there in Genesis, where it talks about what happened in the big inning.
Useless Foreign Language Phrases
My postillion has been struck by lightning is one of many lines found in foreign language phrase books that have no real purpose. Mark Twain complained about the same thing in his essay, “The Awful German Language.”
Origin of “Buy the Farm”
The idiom buy the farm, meaning to die, could’ve originated from similar phrases, like bought the plot, as in the plot where one is buried.
A Bird in this World
As members of The Andy Griffith Show Rerun Watchers Club know, Andy sometimes shook his head and declared, You’re a bird in this world, meaning that someone was unique or otherwise remarkable. The expression appears to have originated with the show’s writers or perhaps with Griffith himself.
Photo by Liz West. Used under a Creative Commons license.
Books Mentioned in the Broadcast
|The Canterbury Tales by Geoffrey Chaucer|
|“The Awful German Language” by Mark Twain|
Music Used in the Broadcast
|Changeline Transmission||DJ Shadow||Endtroducing||Mo Wax|
|You Mess Me Up||The New Mastersounds||Out On The Faultline||One Note|
|Building Steam With A Grain Of Salt||DJ Shadow||Endtroducing||Mo Wax|
|What Does Your Sould Look Like Part 4||DJ Shadow||Endtroducing||Mo Wax|
|Way Out West||The New Mastersounds||Out On The Faultline||One Note|
|The Number Song||DJ Shadow||Endtroducing||Mo Wax|
|Let’s Call The Whole Thing Off||Ella Fitzgerald||Ella Fitzgerald Sings The George and Ira Gershwin Song Book||Verve|