A listener in Springfield, Illinois, recalls that an elderly relative would respond to the question “How are you?” with the answer “Forked end down.” By that, he meant, “I’m fine.” If you’ve ever drawn a stick figure, you know that the forked end is where the feet are, so forked end down means someone’s feet are firmly planted on the ground. In the American West, “forked end up” long referred to the unfortunate position of a rider thrown from a horse. This is part of a complete episode.
- Gee and Haw 03/12/2018: The highly specialized vocabulary of people who work outdoors, communicating with sled dogs, a word from the sport of rock-climbing, church key, browse line, smeuse,... [more]
- Gung Ho 03/05/2018: The origins of the peace symbol, why we say someone who's enthusiastic is gung ho, a tasty spin on stuffed foccacia that originated in eastern... [more]
- Crusticles and Fenderbergs 02/12/2018: A second-generation Filipino-American finds that when he speaks English, his personality is firm, direct, and matter-of-fact. But when he speaks with family members in Tagalog,... [more]
- Bun in the Oven 02/05/2018: 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,... [more]
- Flying Pickle 01/29/2018: How would you like to be welcomed to married life by friends and neighbors descending on your home for a noisy celebration, tearing off the... [more]