In Spanish, mordida literally means “a bite,” but it’s a kind of bribe. It predates the English phrase “put the bite on someone” by more than a hundred years. One proposed etymology for the Spanish term is that divers rescuing treasure from wrecked Spanish galleons were allowed, on their final dive, to keep as many coins as they could bring up crammed into their mouths. Another story goes that the underlings of a Spanish nobleman collected a special tax to help pay for his extensive dental work, then simply continued the practice after the work was paid for. Both of these colorful stories are probably too colorful to be believed. “Mordida!” is also a popular cry at birthday celebration in parts of Latin America, where the birthday boy or girl is encouraged by cheering guests to plunge face first into a cake. This is part of a complete episode.
- 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]
- Gung Ho 03/05/2018: The origins of the peace symbol, why we say someone who's enthusiastic is gung ho, a tasty spin on stuffed foccacia that originated in eastern... [more]
- Crusticles and Fenderbergs 02/12/2018: A second-generation Filipino-American finds that when he speaks English, his personality is firm, direct, and matter-of-fact. But when he speaks with family members in Tagalog,... [more]
- Bun in the Oven 02/05/2018: How many different ways are there to say you have a baby on the way? You can say you're pregnant, great with child, clucky, awkward,... [more]
- Flying Pickle 01/29/2018: How would you like to be welcomed to married life by friends and neighbors descending on your home for a noisy celebration, tearing off the... [more]