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Put on the Dog

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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, infanticipating, noisy piece of cheese, a word game, and lots more. This episode first aired March 31, 2018.

A Sense of Library Wonder

 A young patron’s sense of wonder at what the Toronto Public Library can offer her is super adorable. Libraries!

Put on the Dog is About Dressing Up

 To put on the dog refers to ostentatious behavior and, in particular, to dressing in a flashy way. What do dogs have to do with stylish clothing?


 Our discussion about the many ways to say someone is pregnant prompts a listener to share another one he picked up from broadcaster Paul Harvey: infanticipating.

A Noisy Piece of Cheese

 A woman in San Diego, California, says that when she was making too much noise as a youngster, her dad would gently reprimand her by saying, “You’re a noisy piece of cheese.”

Palate vs. Palette

 Need a mnemonic to remember difference between the spelling of the palate in your mouth and an artist’s palette? Associate the one in your mouth with the past tense of the verb to eat.

Autocomplete Word Game

 Quiz Guy John Chaneski, who also writes for Paid Off, a television game show starring Michael Torpey, offers a game-show style puzzle. For example, what are the top three most likely responses from Google’s autocomplete feature if you type in the question “Why does my arm…”?

You’re Welcome

 Why do some people not say “you’re welcome” in response to “thank you”? A Lantana, Texas, woman observes that during media interviews, people will often respond to a “thank you” by saying “thank you” themselves.

Hungry Horse Pun

 A listener in Hope, North Wales, points out that there’s punny way to spell a hungry horse in four letters. (Hint: one particularly British synonym for horse is gee-gee.)

Are Funner and Funnest Words?

 A 10-year-old in Steamboat Springs, Colorado, says friends correct him whenever he says funner and funnest. Are they really words, and if so, is it okay to use them?

Pig, Slang for Police

 A law enforcement officer says he and his colleagues are curious about how the word pig came to be used as a derogatory term for police. This use has a long history that goes back more than two centuries.


 The term cowbelly is used in Louisiana to mean both a kind of work shoe and  soft river mud. This kind of silt has been described evocatively by writer Conger Beasley, Jr.

Whopping Lies Kids Tell

 A tweet soliciting the biggest lies people heard from other kids while growing up turns up some whoppers, like the boy who claimed his great-great-great-great grandfather was Elvis.

Gap, Notch, Saddle, and Pass

 What you call the space between mountains depends on which part of the country you’re in. The word gap is used more in the Southern United States, notch in the Northeast, and saddle or pass in the West. See Grant’s analysis of place names on the maps below.


 There’s a word for those noble souls who’re picking up litter while they jog. They’re ploggers. The neologisms plogger and plogging are a combination of the English word jogging and Swedish plocka upp, which means pick up.

Philadelphia Lawyer

 A listener in Omaha, Nebraska, says that when he was being particularly inquisitive, his grandmother would exclaim, “You ask more questions than a Philadelphia lawyer!” This term for a particularly shrewd attorney goes all the way back to the late 18th century, and may be a reference either to Ben Franklin or the Philadelphia attorney Andrew Hamilton, who successfully defended German-American printer John Peter Zenger.

Mind-Boggling vs. Mind-Bottling

 The term mind-boggling describes something that has a powerful effect on the mind. Sometimes it’s misunderstood as mind-bottling, an eggcorn popularized by a Will Farrell movie.

Italian-American “Skutch”

 The Italian-American slang word skutch refers to someone who’s being annoying and derives from the Italian word scocciare, which means “to pester.”


 The Japanese have a term for the act of buying books but letting them pile up without reading them. It’s tsundoku.

This episode is hosted by Martha Barnette and Grant Barrett, and produced by Stefanie Levine.

Photo by John Picken. Used under a Creative Commons license.

Music Used in the Episode

Power MontageKeith MansfieldFlamboyant ThemesKPM Music
Utility CueKeith MansfieldLife Is For LivingKPM Music
Spark PlugMelvin SparksSpark PlugPrestige
Barrio BuenoThe CabildosCross FireVroommm
Phase OutDave RichmondContemporary Styles In Electr0-PopKPM Music
Coming AlongDuncan LamontLinks, Bridges, and StingsKPM Music
BorderlandThe CabildosCross FireVroommm
Perpetual ShakePaolo ZavalloneMusic For DancefloorsStrut
Fugitive On The RunPeter SanderThe Super Sounds of Bosworth 2Trunk Records
Hang LooseMax HarrisThe Super Sounds of BosworthTrunk Records
Volcano VapesSure Fire Soul EnsembleOut On The CoastColemine Records

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