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A swinging song by Glenn Miller and His Orchestra called “I’ve Got a Gal in Kalamazoo” drops the line “What a gal, a real pipperoo.” A homeschooling family in Maine wonders just what a pipperoo is. For one, the suffix ...

Hark Your Racket

“Hark your racket,” meaning, “shush,” is a variant of “hark your noise,” which pops up in Michigan, Wisconsin and Maine as far back as the 1940’s. This is part of a complete episode.

Episode 1415

Noon Balloon to Rangoon

Is there a word you keep having to look up in the dictionary, no matter how many times you’ve looked it up before? Maybe it’s time for a mnemonic device. And: a listener shares a letter from Kurt Vonnegut himself, with some reassuring...

Money Cat

What’s a money cat? It’s a regional term for “calico cat,” and it’s particularly common in Maine. The idea goes back to a bit of folklore that calicos bring you good luck. This is part of a complete episode.


The term pull-haul, meaning “a verbal conflict,” is heard in New England, particularly Maine. A 1914 citation in the Dictionary of American Regional English alludes to all the pull-hauling among churches when a new congregant moves to...

Nerd vs. Geek

Books that make great gifts for language-lovers, the difference between a nerd and a geek, and talk about a new term, poutrage, and what do you call the crust in the corners of your eyes after a night’s sleep?