Home » Etymologists

TagEtymologists

Episode 1551

Cherry Bombs

An ornithologist says there’s a growing movement to change the name of a pink-footed bird currently called the flesh-footed shearwater. The movement reflects a growing understanding that using flesh-colored for “pink” fails to...

“Logy” Meaning and Origins

James is from southwest Michigan, which was heavily settled by the Dutch. He grew up using the adjective logy, meaning “lethargic,” and was surprised to learn that friends from elsewhere didn’t know the word. He wonders if he knows...

Go Sit on a Tack!

Tricia in Chesapeake, Virginia, says if her father was annoyed with her mother, he used to jokingly tell her: Go sit on a tack! It’s another way of saying “Leave me alone!” Similar phrases include go fly a kite, go climb a tree, go...

The Origiins of Skedaddle

The origin of skedaddle, meaning to “run away in a panic” or “flee,” has proved elusive. Renowned etymologist Anatoly Liberman suggests it may be related to a Scottish term, skeindaddle, meaning “to spill.” Its...

The Dickson Baseball Dictionary

Baseball is a rich source of slang, and the Dickson Baseball Dictionary by Paul Dickson is a trove of such language. A snow cone, in baseball lingo, is a ball caught so that it’s sticking up out of the fielder’s glove. And which month of...