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Give It the Old College Slang

Booya! It's another newsletter from A Way with Words.

This past weekend's show rocked the mic. We talked about "voluntold," "apple of my eye," nicknames for Vancouver, and the expression "a face that could gag a maggot off a gutwagon."


Another topic this past weekend was why some young men (and older men, for that matter) call each other by their last names. The book we recommended for more information on this topic was "A Dictionary of Epithets and Terms of Address" by Leslie Dunkling. You can sample the book here:


We also talked about "a horse apiece." You might use the expression in the same way you'd say, "six of one, half a dozen of another" or "it tastes the same no matter how you slice it."

In researching the expression, Grant came across this parable by James W. Foley, a folksy writer who also composed the North Dakota state song. He published this in a collection of his work in 1905.


"Hello!" says I.

"Hello!" says he.

I never see th' man afore.

"Swap?" says I.

"Dunno," says he,

"Mebbe, mebbe--I ain't shore."

"Th' bay?" says I.

"Th' gray?" says he.

"Swap!" says we, an both unhitched.

"Fine horse," says I.

"O course," says he,

An in a minute we had switched.

"Git up!" says I.

"Git up!" says he.

An both them horses stood stock still!

"Balk?" says I.

"Yep!" says he.

"Mine too!" s' I, laughin', fit to kill.

"Say!" says I.

"Hey?" says he.

"Guess that's horse apiece," says we.

"Good day!" says I.

"Good day!" says he.

Best joke, b' gosh, I ever see!

Best wishes,

Martha Barnette and Grant Barrett

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