If you’re sending out party invitations, what’s a sure-fire way to get hold of everyone? Email? Snailmail? Facebook? Texting? Twitter? Or a plain old-fashioned phone call? Different folks have different communication preferences, and accommodating all of them can be a challenge. Also, when someone says “Catch my fade,” is that good news or bad? And: what to do if your cheese is blinky. Plus, pipe down, cease and desist, peach and bungalow, rush the growler, pagophilic, a famous insult from Hollywood, and a grandma’s edgy phrase for washing up in the sink. This episode first aired December 19, 2014.
There are two kinds of readers in the world: those who blow past a word they don’t know, and those who drop everything, run to the dictionary, and dig and dig until they figure out what in the world something like pagophilic means. Yes, we fall into the latter camp. And pagophilia, if you’re wondering, means “a love of ice.”
Pipe down, meaning “shush,” comes from the days when a ship’s bosun (or bo’s’n or bos’n, also known as a boatswain), would actually blow a whistle to tell the rest of the crew that the wind had shifted or a certain action needed to take place.
We say rush the growler to mean “go fetch the booze” because, back in the 1880s, people got around the new liquor laws by sending kids scurrying down to the bar with an empty growler in hand to fill up. Variations of this include chase the duck and chase the can.
A bunch of English words actually take from the names of old places: peach comes from Persia, bungalow refers to a house “of the Bengal type,” and laconic refers to the region of Sparta famous as a place where people valued speech that was brief and to the point.
The slang threat “I’ll butter your necktie!” was made famous by the 1950 film Harvey.
We spoke a little while ago about quickie baths, which one listener called a Georgia bath, but we got a letter from someone who’s grandmother used to refer to it as “swabbin’ the vitals,” that last word sounding like “vittles.”
An old expression from Yorkshire: I’m not as green as I am cabbage-looking, meaning, “I may look new to this, but I’m not.”
If you’re sending out party invitations, what’s the sure-fire way to get ahold of everyone? Mail? Email? Facebook? Texting? Do we even know each other’s phone numbers anymore? Why can’t there just be one system that everyone uses?!
Larovers to catch meddlers, layovers for meddlers, and many variations thereof, are among the comically evasive things parents say when their kids ask, “What’s that?” It essentially means, “shoo.”
A listener who works as a proofreader for academic texts wrote in with his own eponymous law that, like the academic texts the law addresses, is way too long to transcribe here.
When something’s blinky, it smells bad enough to make you blink. Spoiled pimento cheese, for example, can be blinky. The origin of blinky is uncertain, although it may derive from on the blink, as in “not working correctly.”
Photo by Amira A. Used under a Creative Commons license.
Music Used in the Episode
|Make Time||Money Mark||This Warm December: A Brushfire Holiday Volume 2||Brushfire Records|
|Stuck At The Airport||Money Mark||This Warm December: A Brushfire Holiday Volume 1||Brushfire Records|
|Super Strut||Deodato||The Roots of Acid Jazz||Sony|
|Revolt of the Octupi||Money Mark||Mark’s Keyboard Repair||Mo Wax|
|Push The Button||Money Mark||Push The Button||Island Def Jam|
|Inner Laugh||Money Mark||Mark’s Keyboard Repair||Mo Wax|
|Sideman||Lonnie Smith||The Roots of Acid Jazz||Sony|
|The Grade||Money Mark||Mark’s Keyboard Repair||Mo Wax|
|Functions||Money Mark||Mark’s Keyboard Repair||Mo Wax|
|Let’s Call The Whole Thing Off||Ella Fitzgerald||Ella Fitzgerald Ella Fitzgerald Sings The George and Ira Gershwin Song Book||Verve|