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When “To Eat Something” Means to Do Well

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Angela calls from Albany Township, Maine, because she’s puzzled by the slang she hears from younger professionals in her field. She designs wigs and styles hair for actors, and recently she’s heard them use the word eat in a new and different way. When she was growing up in the 1980s, she used the ate it to mean when someone took a fall or did a faceplant. Lately, though, she hears young theater professionals using the same phrase to mean something positive. If an actor or singer is doing well, they’ll say She ate! or She’s eating this choreography or She ate that song! or She’s eating! One also complimented her work with You ate that haircut! This sense of eat and ate has been around at least as far back as 2008. This is part of a complete episode.

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