You’re at a social gathering and meet someone you’d like to know better. What do you ask to get a real conversation going? Some people lead with “What do you do?,” while others avoid talking about work entirely. Still others ask, “Where’d you go to high school?’ Also, the fancy way linguists describe the sound of a kiss. And what does it really mean when someone “breaks bad”? Plus, alight and come in, rustle my jimmies, grammatical calques, mashtag potatoes, comprise vs. compose, bangs vs. fringe, virgas and virgules, and bad Bible jokes.
This episode first aired March 15, 2014.
Is pussyfooting, as in “treading lightly,” an offensive term?
There should be no dilemma about the spelling of dilemma. It’s not dilemna, and it’s a mystery why so many people were taught that way.
No need to ask your doctor about virga. That’s just the term for “a diagonal streak of rain that evaporates before it hits the ground.” It derives from the Latin for “rod,” and is related to virgule, a fancy name for that punctuation mark otherwise known as a slash.
Super Hero Word Puzzle
Our Quiz-Man John Chaneski has a game about the Batman villains who didn’t make the cut. All of their names end in -er, like The Matchmaker and The Firecracker.
Breaking Bad Meaning
The term breaking bad means to raise hell, although if you weren’t a Southerner, you might not have been aware that the rest of the country didn’t know the phrase before Vince Gilligan, a Virginian, created the TV show by that name.
Describing Good-Looking Men
A question for heterosexual guys: What words do you use to describe other men who are good-looking? Attractive? Handsome?
Alight And Come In
Alight and come in is an old-fashioned, hospitable phrase recalling a time when a visitor who’s ridden a long way might be invited to hop off his horse and step inside for a meal. Variations include alight and look at your saddle and alight and look at your beast. All of which reminds Martha, a preacher’s kid, of the riddle “When were cigarettes mentioned in the Bible?” Answer: Genesis 24:64.
Wise Men Biblical Pun
Beware the biblical pun: What kind of car did the three wise men drive? A Honda. They all came with one Accord.
Rules for Using “Comprise”
Comprise is a tricky word, and its usage is in the process of changing. But there’s an easy way to remember the traditional rule: Don’t ever use comprised of. Just don’t. Here’s an example: The alphabet comprises 26 letters. You could also say The alphabet is composed of 26 letters.
Rustle Your Jimmies
Ever have that experience where you’re scrolling through photos of cute babies on Facebook and then all of a sudden there’s a picture of something gross that just rustles your jimmies?
Fringe vs. Bangs
When it comes to hair, what the British call fringe, people in the U.S. call bangs. The stateside version most likely has to do with the idea of a bangtail horse, meaning a horse whose tail has been cut straight across.
Pharaoh’s Court Joke
When was tennis mentioned in the Bible? When Joseph served in Pharaoh’s court.
Photo by Travis Swan. Used under a Creative Commons license.
Music Used in the Broadcast
|Lady, You Look Good To Me||Galt MacDermot||Shapes of Rhythm / Woman Is Sweeter||Kilmarnock|
|Farmland||Galt MacDermot||Shapes of Rhythm / Woman Is Sweeter||Kilmarnock|
|Coffee Cold||Galt MacDermot||Shapes of Rhythm / Woman Is Sweeter||Kilmarnock|
|Also Sprach Zarathustra||Deodato||Prelude||CTI|
|Marsh Gas||Galt MacDermot||Shapes of Rhythm / Woman Is Sweeter||Kilmarnock|
|If Our Love Is Real||Galt MacDermot||Shapes of Rhythm / Woman Is Sweeter||Kilmarnock|
|Tender Meetings||Galt MacDermot||Shapes of Rhythm / Woman Is Sweeter||Kilmarnock|
|M’Babam||Galt MacDermot||Shapes of Rhythm / Woman Is Sweeter||Kilmarnock|
|The Mouse Roared||Galt MacDermot||Shapes of Rhythm / Woman Is Sweeter||Kilmarnock|
|Field Of Sorrow||Galt MacDermot||Shapes of Rhythm / Woman Is Sweeter||Kilmarnock|
|Let’s Call The Whole Thing Off||Ella Fitzgerald||Ella Fitzgerald Sings The George and Ira Gershwin Song Book||Verve|