Jennifer in Chippewa Falls, Wisconsin, has been in recovery from substance abuse for 29 years now, and still recalls some of the slang she heard back in the days when she was using illicit drugs. Her ex-husband used to say Now you got my nose open and Don’t get my nose open, which both refer to the idea of enticing someone to do drugs. There are larger senses of this phrase, referring to being excited about something or being sexually aroused or feeling rising anger. This slang term has been around since the 1950s. Jennifer also used the term bonnaroo to mean “really good.” In the slang of San Quentin Prison in the 1930s, bonnaroo meant “a preferred job assignment” for prisoners. The Bonnaroo festival in Tennessee takes its name from the 1974 album Desitively Bonnaroo by Dr. John, who said the word came from the French-influenced slang of New Orleans, Louisiana, a combination of French bonne, “good,” and rue, “street,” meaning “best on the street,” or in other words, “really good drugs.” This is part of a complete episode.
- Singing Sand (episode #1546) 04/06/2020: Cat hair may be something you brush off, but cat hair is also a slang term that means "money." In the same way, cat beer... [more]
- Baby's Breath (episode #1545) 03/23/2020: Have you ever googled your own name and found someone else who goes by the very same moniker? There's a word for that: googleganger. Plus,... [more]
- Hog on Ice (episode #1544) 03/09/2020: One secret to writing well is … there is no secret! There's no substitute for simply sitting down day after day to practice the craft... [more]
- Goody Two-Shoes (episode #1543) 02/24/2020: She sells seashells by the seashore. Who is the she in this tongue twister? Some claim it's the young Mary Anning, who went on to... [more]
- Baby Blues (episode #1542) 02/10/2020: A hundred years ago, suffragists lobbied to win women the right to vote. Linguistically speaking, though, suffrage isn't about "suffering." It's from a Latin word... [more]