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Antic Antique, Grotesque Grotto

Judith in Newbury Park, California, shares a funny story about how she used to mispronounce the word grotesque with three syllables. This term, meaning strange or unnatural or absurdly exaggerated, goes back to Italian grottesca, having to do with...

Las Caniculas

A San Antonio, Texas, listener recalls hearing the term las caniculas to denote a period of 12 days in January where the weather seems to run the gamut of all the kinds of weather that will be experienced in the coming year. This period is also...

Being Have

A caller who grew up in rural Pennsylvania remembers being asked as a child, “Are you being have?” instead of “Are you behaving?” Being have, with a long a sound, results from what linguists call reanalysis. It occurs when...

Pussle-Guts

A caller from Vermont says his Mississippi-born grandfather always called him a pussle-gut, and admonish him about an unseen wampus cat. The former, also spelled puzzle-gut, simply means “a fat or pot-bellied person,” the pussle being...

Apple Core, Baltimore!

A Madison, Wisconsin, caller says his father will eat an apple down to the core, then call out “Apple core, Baltimore! Who’s your friend?” and if the person doesn’t answer fast enough, his dad will throw the core at him. This...

Gentleman’s Grotto

A follow up to our discussion on man caves; one listener suggests we try to popularize the term “gentleman’s grotto.” This is part of a complete episode.

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