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.
- Flee Fly Flo 01/02/2017: Wrapping up 2016 with words from the past year and some newsy limericks. Bigly and Brexit were on lots of lips this year, as well... [more]
- Gaslighting 01/02/2017: A listener in Tampa, Florida, was discussing the 2016 presidential election when the term gaslighted came up. Gaslighting is a form of psychological abuse in... [more]
- Being Have 01/02/2017: A caller who grew up in rural Pennsylvania remembers being asked as a child, "Are you being have?" instead of "Are you behaving?" Being have,... [more]
- Stay Woke 01/02/2017: The slang term woke, as in stay woke, arose among African-Americans to refer to being aware of social injustice or racism, and then doing something... [more]
- What To Call a Parent Who Loses a Child 01/02/2017: Although in English we have the terms orphan, widow, and widower, our language lacks a one-word term that means "bereaved parent." A few other languages... [more]