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Chumpie, A Multipurpose Philadelphia Word

Alvin in Huntsville, Alabama, is a fan of the multipurpose noun chumpie, which he learned from a native Philadelphian. He remembers hearing it on the television show The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, when actor Will Smith, who is originally from...

Wigging in Stunts

In the world of stunt performers, wigging is the practice of a male stunt actor dressing as a woman to stand-in for a female actor. Painting down is the practice of white stunt performers darken their skin to stand in for actors of color. In the...

The Source of the Pirate’s “Arrr!”

A chance encounter with University of California San Diego professor of history Mark Hanna, author of Pirate Nests and the Rise of the British Empire, 1570-1740, leads to a discussion of how the saying “arrr!” came to be associated with...

Actor vs. Actress

Why do we differentiate linguistically between an actor and an actress, but don’t make a similar distinction between a male doctor and a female one? The profession of being an actor was initially limited to men, so the word actress came later...

Flee Fly Flo

Wrapping up 2016 with words from the past year and some newsy limericks. Bigly and Brexit were on lots of lips this year, as well as an increasingly popular Danish word that means “cozy.” Also, Quiz Guy John Chaneski sums up the year in...