A San Antonio, Texas, listener recalls hearing the term las caniculas to denote a period of 12 days in January where the weather seems to run the gamut of all the kinds of weather that will be experienced in the coming year. This period is also known as las cabañuelas. Canicula derives from Latin for “little dog,” a reference to Sirius, the brightest star in the constellation Canis Major, which at a certain time of the year appears in the eastern horizon just before sunrise, appearing to accompany the sun like a faithful pup. There’s a great deal of folklore associated with la canicula, a term applied at different times in different Spanish-speaking countries. In English, this period in late summer is known as the dog days. This is part of a complete episode.
- Brollies and Bumbershoots 04/16/2018: If you think they refer to umbrellas as bumbershoots in the UK, think again. The word bumbershoot actually originated in the United States! In Britain,... [more]
- Cool Your Soup 04/09/2018: According to Nigerian writer Chinua Achebe, it's important to master the basics of writing, but there comes a time when you have to strike out... [more]
- Put on the Dog 04/02/2018: Why isn't "you're welcome" the default response to "thank you" for everyone? Plus lies that kids tell, Philadelphia lawyer, cowbelly, skutch, mind-bottling vs. mind-boggling, tsundoku,... [more]
- Fighting Artichokes 03/25/2018: What's in a mascot name? Maybe you're a fan of the Banana Slugs, or you cheer for the Winged Beavers. Perhaps your loyalty lies with... [more]
- 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]