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Loanwords with Altered Meanings

John in Brattleboro, Vermont, is pondering words and phrases that change their meaning when they move from one language to another. For example, in Germany the English phrase public viewing doesn’t have to do with a wake, but a live sporting...

Here, Here and There, There

A listener from Dallas, Texas, wonders why we say “here, here” to cheer someone on, and “there, there” to calm someone down. Actually, the phrase is “hear, hear,” and it’s imperative, as in, listen to this...

Pungle

Quiz time! Does pungle mean a) a baby platypus, or b) “to put down money.” It’s the latter. Pungle is most common in the western United States. It comes from the Spanish pongale, an imperative meaning “put it down.” For...