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My Word is Born

Michael from Sherman Oaks, California, says that as a teacher in New Jersey in the 1980s, he heard students saying My word is born, meaning “You better believe me,” and later shortened to simply word. The research of linguist Geneva...

Episode 1419

Green-Eyed Monster

We often hear that English is going to hell in a handbasket. Actually, though, linguistic handwringing about sinking standards and sloppy speech has been going on for centuries – at least as far back as the 1300’s! And: language also...

Wolf Tickets

To sell woof tickets, or wolf tickets, is African-American slang meaning “to threaten in a boastful manner.” Geneva Smitherman, a professor at Michigan State University who’s studied the term, believes it has its origins in the...

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