How many different ways are there to say you have a baby on the way? You can say you’re pregnant, great with child, clucky, awkward, eating for two, lumpy, or swallowed a pumpkin seed? • The story behind the word supercalifragilisticexpialidocious. It’s older than the Mary Poppins movie. • Made-up foreignisms, like the one you eat with scrambled eggs: oinkenstrippen! This episode first aired February 3, 2018.
In our Facebook group, Laurie Stiers shared the fake German name her father used for bacon: oinkenstrippen. That prompted a discussion of other faux foreignisms, such as pronouncing Target as tar-ZHAY or Kroger as kroh-ZHAY.
A father-to-be in Susanville, California, wonders about how many different ways there are to say a woman is pregnant. He likes the term great with child, but isn’t crazy about knocked up. Fortunately, there are more than 120 terms, including: swallowed a pumpkin seed, swallowed a watermelon seed, lumpy, clucky, awkward, eating for two, to be in a delicate condition, in the familiar way, double-ribbed, preggers, poisoned, with a kid in the basket, having joined the pudding club, full in the belly, belly up, apron up, and more.
A woman in Omaha, Nebraska, is puzzled when a friend refers to the fatty tail bump of a cooked chicken as the bishop’s nose. It may have to do with that part’s resemblance on a cooked chicken or turkey to a human nose, or perhaps to a bishop’s miter, and may reflect anti-Catholic sentiment in 17th-century England. This structure is also called the pope’s nose, the parson’s nose, the north end of a chicken flying south, or the last part over the fence. The French term for this morsel is le sot-l’y-laisse, meaning a silly person leaves it, the idea being that only a fool would pass up this savory bite.
Lapidary prose is so elegant and precise that it’s worthy of being carved into stone. Lapidary comes from Latin lapis, meaning stone, and is related to the brilliant blue stone, lapis lazuli, and the word dilapidated, from a Latin word meaning to destroy — originally, to pelt with stones.
Quiz Guy John Chaneski’s puzzle is based on a Twitter thread that involves intentionally misunderstanding the name of the adult cartoon show Rick and Morty. For example, isn’t Rick and Morty what occurs when you die and your body gets all stiff? Oh no, wait that’s….
Our conversation about rebuses and grammagrams prompted several listeners to note that people in scientific fields sometimes use the letters NRG as a stand-in for the word energy.
A Traverse City, Michigan, man is curious about the phrase his mother-in-law uses: breathing a scab. She uses it to indicate that someone who’s pushing limits or otherwise on thin ice metaphorically. The phrase is far more commonly breeding a scab, and it describes someone whose behavior risks retaliation, such as a punch in the nose, that might actually leave a scab.
A Black Mountain, North Carolina, man is trying to popularize the word earspace, which he feels can be used in two different ways. One sense is the available time a person has to take in something by listening, as in “I have earspace for a new podcast.” The other meaning suggests things that sound somewhat similar, as in the following sentence: “Nickel Creek and The Mountain Goats are in the same earspace for me because the bands have a similar sound and I listen to them when I’m in the same mood.”
The rarely used English noun list, meaning desire or craving, is entirely different from the word list that denotes a series of things. The little-used meaning is at the root of the term listless, which in its original sense meant a lack of desire. Similarly, the word listy is an old term that means desirous. Another word that isn’t what it seems is the adjective full-blown, which means fully developed, such as a full-blown case of pneumonia. The blown in this sense literally means in bloom or having blossomed, and is from the same linguistic root as the word peachblow, which means having the color of a peach blossom.
A San Diego, California, man says a colleague jokingly greets him with “What’s cookin’ good lookin’?” It’s a version of a question popularized by a Hank Williams song that goes “Hey, good-lookin’, whatcha got cookin’?” This greeting goes back to at least the 1920s.
Our earlier conversation about gram weenies, another name for ultralight backpackers, prompted a San Diego, California, man to write with the story of Bill Lear, the inventor of the LearJet, who once said he’d trade his own grandmother for a one-pound reduction of weight in the design of one of his aircraft. As a result, Lear’s engineers adopted the term grandmother as a synonym for one pound.
If you’re not feeling quite right, you might describe yourself as awvish. This dialectal term used in parts of Northern England may derive from a local pronunciation of the word half.
The mouthful supercalifragilisticexpialidocious is often associated with the song by the same name in the 1964 movie Mary Poppins. But versions of this word were around for decades, including in a 1949 song called “Supercalafajalistickespeealadojus.” That similarly formed the basis of an unsuccessful copyright infringement lawsuit against brothers Richard and Robert Sherman, who wrote the song for the Disney movie.
The scientific name for that part of a fowl otherwise known as the pope’s nose or the bishop’s nose is uropygium. The Greek root of this word, pyge, meaning “rump,” is also found in the English adjectives callipygian, which means having a shapely butt, and dasypygal, which means having hairy buttocks.
This episode is hosted by Martha Barnette and Grant Barrett, and produced by Stefanie Levine.
Photo by Kevin Wood. Used under a Creative Commons license.
Music Used in the Episode
|Boxes||I Mark 4||I Mark 4||Nelson Records|
|Man Alive||Keith Mansfield||Contempo||KPM Music|
|Rhythm Cascade||Ralph Benatar and B. Ador||Beat-Action||RKM|
|There’s A River||I Mark 4||I Mark 4||Nelson Records|
|Wild Boy||Ignace Baert||Beat-Action||RKM|
|Studio In Chiave Di Basso||I Mark 4||I Mark 4||Nelson Records|
|Hot Dog||I Mark 4||I Mark 4||Nelson Records|
|Sweat Beat||I Mark 4||I Mark 4||Nelson Records|
|Volcano Vapes||Sure Fire Soul Ensemble||Out On The Coast||Colemine Records|