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To Greissel Someone

The verb greissel, also spelled greisle, means to “disgust,” “sicken” or “irritate,” as in That greissels me or I stayed greisseled about that for a long time. Greissel comes from a family of German words that...

Rare False Friends

You might assume that the Welsh word plant means the same thing it does in English, but this word is a linguistic false friend. The Welsh word plentyn means “child,” and the word plant means “children.” Some false friends are...

Ish and Ishy

Ed in Florence, South Carolina, remembers that when he was stationed at Grand Forks Air Force Base in North Dakota, the locals used a couple of words he’d never heard. They’d use “Ish!” as an interjection to express disgust...

Etymoloy of “Uff-Da!”

Uff-da! is an exclamation of disgust or annoyance. In Norwegian, it means roughly the same as Yiddish Oy vey!, and is now common in areas of the U.S. settled by Norwegians, particularly Wisconsin and Minnesota. This is part of a complete...

Variations of Ishpy

A while back, we talked about ishpy, a popular word among Nordic immigrants meaning something that a child shouldn’t touch or put in their mouth. It turns out that lots of listeners with ancestors from Norway and Denmark know the term ishpy...

Ish and Ishpee

Keep the ishpee out of your mouth. One caller’s parents used to shout “Ishpee!” when he or his siblings would try and eat dirt, marbles, or whatever they found on the floor. He wonders if this expression is unique to his family. It...