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Crabbing Lingo

Rob calls from the Chesapeake Bay area of Virginia to discuss the lingo of crabbing. A male blue crab is a jimmy, and a female is called a sook, a silk, or sow. A crab that’s unsuitable for market because its flesh isn’t firm, it’s...

Wigging in Stunts

In the world of stunt performers, wigging is the practice of a male stunt actor dressing as a woman to stand-in for a female actor. Painting down is the practice of white stunt performers darken their skin to stand in for actors of color. In the...

Hang for a Sheep

Rick calls from Rouses Point, New York, to ask about the etymology of the phrase to hang for a sheep as for a lamb, meaning to go for broke or to go all out. The answer involves the old tradition of capital punishment for poaching animals. Given the...

Actor vs. Actress

Why do we differentiate linguistically between an actor and an actress, but don’t make a similar distinction between a male doctor and a female one? The profession of being an actor was initially limited to men, so the word actress came later...

Hilltopping/Hightopping on a Snow Machine

In an earlier episode, we talked about the butterfly mating behavior known as hilltopping, in which male butterflies try to appeal to females by flying as high as possible. A listener in Fairbanks, Alaska, reports that the term hilltopping is used...