A caller from Long Beach, California, says hell for leather describes “a reckless abandonment of everything but the pursuit of speed.” But why hell for leather? The expression seems to have originated in the mid-19th century, referencing the wear and tear on the leather from a rough ride on horseback at breakneck speed. But similar early versions include hell falleero and hell faladery. There’s also hell for election, which can mean the same thing and appears to be a variation of hell-bent for election. 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]
- Words of the Year 2016 01/02/2017: Words of the year for 2016 include bigly, a mishearing of big-league; hygge, a Danish word that has to do with coziness; and Brexit, a... [more]
- Boodler 01/02/2017: A boodler is someone involved in political graft or corruption. The word likely derives from Dutch boedel, meaning "property." This is part of a complete... [more]
- Flee Fly Flo Camp Song 01/02/2017: Flee Fly Flo is a camp song, and like other songs passed along orally, it has lots of variations, and often includes rhythmic hand-clapping. In... [more]
- Latinx 01/02/2017: The term Latinx, pronounced Lah-TEEN-ex, gained traction in 2016 as a gender-neutral, non-binary alternative to Latino and/or Latina. A variant is Latin@. This is part... [more]