Have you ever eaten a Benedictine sandwich? Or savored a juicy pork steak? What’s a favorite dish you grew up with that may be mystifying to someone from another part of the country? Also, what does it mean to tell someone to “put a snap on the grouch bag”?
This episode first aired May 3, 2008.
Have you ever eaten a Benedictine sandwich? Or savored a juicy pork steak? What’s a favorite dish you grew up with that may be mystifying to someone from another part of the country?
Origin of Touchdown
A rugby referee from Indiana calls to ask if his sport is the origin of the word touchdown as it is used in American football.
Emphasis on Patronize
How do you pronounce the word patronize? Is one pronunciation used if you say “Don’t patronize me!” and another one if you say “We patronize local businesses”?
Why do we say political campaigns that are in a dead heat? Why dead and why heat?
Bingo Lingo Word Quiz
We play bingo on the air with Quiz Guy John Chaneski. His motives are not B9!
A woman who went to school in New Orleans reports she was startled the first time she heard residents of the Crescent City talk about making groceries rather than buying them. Grant explains the French origins of that expression.
Seeding a Competition
A listener who recently played in a Boggle tournament wants to know why we speak of seeding such a competition.
The German word über has found a place in American English. A New Jersey man says he and his colleagues find it to be more versatile than a Swiss Army knife, as in, “He is uber in the middle of that situation,” “That was an uber meeting,” and “You guys are the language ubers.”
Expression “Snap on the Grouch Bag”
An Indianapolis caller wants to know about curious expression she heard from her Aunt Harriet: “put a snap on the grouch bag.” You would think it means “Stop complaining!” but she says it refers to making sure your valuables are secure. What’s the grudge?
Martha and Grant discuss more regional food terms. If you order Albany beef in upstate New York, for example, don’t be surprised if you’re served fish.
Squish and Optempo
This week’s Slang This! contestant grapples with the slang terms squish and optempo.
Drink the Kool-Aid
What’s the trouble with using the expression “drink the Kool-Aid” to connote blind, unquestioning obedience to a politician? A caller is bothered by the grisly origin of the phrase—a reference to the 1978 mass suicide in Jonestown, Guyana—and thinks it’s being used inaccurately, in any case.
To Who Laid the Rail
A caller is curious about the odd expression “to who laid the rail,” which is used to mean, among other things, “thoroughly, completely, excessively.” You can see Grant’s work on the term at the Double-Tongued Dictionary.
Photo by Marlon E. Used under a Creative Commons license.