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Cutting a Head Shine

An East Tennessee caller wonders about the phrase “cutting a head shine,” meaning “pull off a caper” or “behave in a boisterous, comical manner.” Cutting a head shine derives from an alternate use of shine...

Bunking

Students in New England might refer to playing hooky from school as bunking, or bunking off. Jonathon Green’s Dictionary of Slang traces the term back to the 1840s in the British Isles. This is part of a complete episode.

Spleeny

Spleeny, meaning “hypersensitive” or “hypochondriacal,” is chiefly heard in New England and goes back to an old sense of the spleen affecting one’s mood. This is part of a complete episode.

You Did It!

Happy new year and welcome to another A Way with Words newsletter! As you might have guessed by the subject line, you helped the show reach its fundraising goal of $25,000 — and you beat it! Thank you so much for your generosity and your vote of...

I Hosey That

If you want to claim something—say, the front seat of a car or the last piece of cake—what do you say? Dibs? Boney? How about “I hosey that!”? The hosts talk about this New England expression, its possible origins, and its equivalent in...