In a futile situation, English speakers might say that we’re spinning our wheels. The French have a phrase for the same situation that translates as “pedal in sauerkraut.” The Illustrated Book of Sayings collects similarly colorful idioms in other languages. There’s a Turkish expression that literally translates as “grapes darken by looking at each other,” meaning that we’re influenced by the company we keep. In Latvian, there’s an expression that means “to prevaricate,” but literally it translates as “to blow little ducks (out of one’s mouth).” This is part of a complete episode.
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- Piping Hot (episode #1503) 07/23/2018: The game of baseball has alway inspired colorful commentary. Sometimes that means using familiar words in unfamiliar ways. The word stuff, for example, can refer... [more]
- Mimeographs and Dittos (episode #1502) 06/24/2018: In this episode: How colors got their names, and a strange way to write. The terms blue and orange arrived in English via French, so... [more]
- Spicy Jambalaya 06/18/2018: Teen slang from the South, and food words that are tricky to pronounce. • High schoolers in Huntsville, Alabama, told Martha and Grant about their... [more]
- Chopped Liver 06/10/2018: There's a proverb that goes "beloved children have many names." At least, that's true when it comes to the names we give our pets. "Fluffy"... [more]