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Is Scheming Negative or Neutral?

Bill, a substitute teacher in Fishers, Indiana, says that while visiting South Africa, he was surprised to hear an acquaintance use scheme to mean simply “a plan,” without no negative connotation whatsoever. In the UK and Commonwealth...

Charlie’s Dead

Elizabeth from Cape Cod, Massachusetts, wonders why some people say Charlie’s dead to indicate to someone that her slip is showing. No one knows which Charlie this expression refers to. Similar euphemisms include it’s snowing down south...

Episode 1524

Kite in a Phone Booth

Stunt performers in movies have their own jargon for talking about their dangerous work. In New York City, the slang term brick means “cold,” and dumb brick means “really cold.” Plus: the East and Central African tradition...

Munge and Kludge

In the 1940s, the noun munge was student slang for crud or filth, then later became a verb denoting the action of messing with data in a way that might produce the equivalent of trash or rubbish. Over time, munge, which was sometimes spelled mung...

To Be Roped In

Does the expression to be roped in into doing something carry a negative connotation? It all depends on the context. This is part of a complete episode.