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Powder River, Let ’Er Buck

John from Bremerton, Washington, is puzzled by a radio announcer’s use of the hortatory phrase Powder River! Let ’er buck! The rollicking, rootin’-tootin’ story of this phrase is told in Western Words: A Dictionary of the American West, an...

Episode 1538

Little Shavers

The word hipster might seem recent, but it actually originated in the 1930s when it referred to jazz aficionados who were in the know about the best nightclubs and cool music. Speaking of music, a professional musician reports that it’s...

Stuff in Baseball

Sarah from Leyden, Massachusetts, wonders about the many ways baseball commentators and sportswriters use the word stuff, as in “The stuff is there, but the command is off,” or “The kid’s got great stuff, but he’s only...

Forgetting Your Own Idiolect

Aiya from Toronto, Canada, finds that whenever he moves to a new location, he adopts some of the local dialect, which feels a bit uncomfortable. At one point, for example, he found himself unable to recall if he used on accident or by accident to...

On the Flip Side

A New York City listener wonders about the origin and literal meaning of the phrase catch you on the flip side. It’s a reference to the B side of vinyl records. It was popularized as part of truckers’ CB lingo in the 1970s. This is part...