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Raise the Window Down

Eva in Fairbanks, Alaska, wonders why her grandmother used to say raise the window down when she wanted someone to open that window. This is part of a complete episode.

Shoelace Express

Sarah in Fairbanks, Alaska, has a term to add to our discussion about colloquial terms for traveling on foot, like shank’s mare, chevrolegs, and getting a ride with Pat and Charlie: taking the shoelace express. This is part of a complete...

Hangry Meaning and Origin

Colleen from Fairbanks, Alaska, is pondering the word hangry, a portmanteau of hungry and angry, and applied to someone who’s irritable as the result of hunger. Although hangry has been around sincet at least the 1950s, it enjoyed a boost in...

Rhetorical Backoffs

Eric in Fairbanks, Alaska, notes the use of the phrase “I’m just saying” as a way to soften one’s comment or avoid responsibility for an observation. Some linguists call such a statement a rhetorical backoff. Other examples...

Strong Like Bull

A woman in Fairbanks, Alaska, says she’s been described as strong like ox, smart like streetcar. Is that a compliment? Other variations include strong like bull and smart like tractor or smart like dump truck. The phrase strong like bull was...