A listener in Cambridge, Wisconsin, says her mother, who is of Irish descent, used to tell her children to wash their hair so it wouldn’t be streely. This word derives from Irish for “unkempt,” and perhaps ultimately from a Gaelic term having to do with something “flapping” or “undone.” This is part of a complete episode.
- Brollies and Bumbershoots 04/16/2018: If you think they refer to umbrellas as bumbershoots in the UK, think again. The word bumbershoot actually originated in the United States! In Britain,... [more]
- Cool Your Soup 04/09/2018: According to Nigerian writer Chinua Achebe, it's important to master the basics of writing, but there comes a time when you have to strike out... [more]
- Put on the Dog 04/02/2018: 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,... [more]
- Fighting Artichokes 03/25/2018: What's in a mascot name? Maybe you're a fan of the Banana Slugs, or you cheer for the Winged Beavers. Perhaps your loyalty lies with... [more]
- Gee and Haw 03/12/2018: The highly specialized vocabulary of people who work outdoors, communicating with sled dogs, a word from the sport of rock-climbing, church key, browse line, smeuse,... [more]