English is full of unusual terms, both old (eleemosynary, favonian) and new (flyaway, catio). Also, the Swahili term that means “sleep like a log,” the multiple meanings of the word joint, cowpies and horse biscuits, what it means to play gooseberry, and how to punctuate “Guess what?” (or “Guess what!”). This episode first aired November 1, 2010.
In French, tenir la chandelle means “to act as a chaperone,” though literally it’s “to hold the candle.” Another expression that means “to chaperone” is the antiquated English phrase “to play gooseberry.”
Eleemosynary is the title of a play by Lee Blessing. The play celebrates this and other unusual words, including sortilege, charivari, ungulate, favonian, and logodaedaly. Martha saw a production at San Diego’s Moxie Theater, and takes the opportunity to discuss those words, plus the fizzy roots of moxie.
Guess what! Or would that be Guess what? A Honolulu listener asks about the right way to punctuate this interjection. Should you use an exclamation mark or a question mark? How about an interrobang or a pronequark?
Cowpies, horse biscuits, buffalo chips, horse dumplings — why do so many names for animal droppings have to do with food? A caller wonders this, and whether the term cowpie would be an anachronism in a Civil War novel.
Photo by Marc Dalmulder. Used under a Creative Commons license.
Music Used in the Episode
|Crazy Queen||Orgone||Cali Fever||Ubiquity Records|
|Lookout||Orgone||Cali Fever||Ubiquity Records|
|Live Right Now||Eddie Harris||Plug Me In||Atlantic|
|Unbroken, Unshaven||Budos Band||The Budos Band III||Daptone Records|
|Mark Of The Unnamed||Budos Band||The Budos Band III||Daptone Records|
|Ballad (For My Love)||Eddie Harris||Plug Me In||Atlantic|
|Mista President||The Soul Jazz Orchestra||Freedom No Go Die||Funk Manchu Records|
|Let’s Call The Whole Thing Off||Fred Astaire||Fred Astaire’s Finest Hour||Verve|