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Fell Between Chairs

Robbie in San Antonio, Texas, wonders about an expression he heard from his mother, who spent many years in Germany. If two people have the opportunity to do something, but neither of them does it, she’d say It fell between chairs. In English...

Gitch Means Underwear, Somewhere

Jordan from Steinbach, Manitoba, Canada, says that when he used the word gitch, his colleagues from the United States had no idea it meant “underwear.” The Second Edition of A Dictionary of Canadianisms on Historical Principles has a...

Cajun Honte

A woman in Lafayette, Louisiana, and wonders about the Cajun French word honte, which means extreme embarrassment and shame. A difference is that the “h” is pronounced in Cajun French but not in European French. This is part of a...

Bungalow Belt

An Indianapolis, Indiana, woman offers a followup to our discussions about various geographic belts around the country. The Bungalow Belt in Chicago refers to a strip of small brick bungalows just inside the city limits originally occupied by...

Words of the Year 2016

Words of the year for 2016 include bigly, a mishearing of big-league; hygge, a Danish word that has to do with coziness; and Brexit, a portmanteau that denotes the exit of Britain from the European Union. This is part of a complete episode.

The Common Name “Jones”

A San Diego, California, 12-year-old whose last name is Jones wonders: Why do so many African-Americans as well as European Americans share the same last name? This is part of a complete episode.