Home » North Carolina

TagNorth Carolina

A Blue Million

Ian in Clyde, North Carolina, is puzzled when a colleague uses the term blue million, meaning “a large amount.” Along with words like zillion and gazillion, this expression functions as an indefinite hyperbolic numeral. Sometimes the...

Ways of Answering the Phone

Do you answer the phone with a word or phrase that’s a little out of the ordinary? Readers of our email newsletter had some surprising answers to that question. One says that just for fun, he likes to answer with a cheery Front desk! A reader...

Never Cook Your Cabbage Twice

Diane calls from eastern North Carolina to talk about a phrase her father used if she asked him to repeat something: I never chew my celery twice. He probably conflated the idea of chewing celery with some far more common expressions involving doing...

Right as Rain

Jeffrey in New Bern, North Carolina, wonders why we use the phrase right as rain to mean “all satisfactory” or “quite correct.” No one’s sure about the origin of this expression, although it may reflect positive...

Jubous, Jubious

Alan, who grew up in eastern North Carolina, says his mother used the word jubous to mean “leery” or “skeptical.” Variously spelled jubous, jubus, dubous, dubus, or some similar version, jubous is simply an adaptation of the...

My Two Cents

Gopal from Greenville, North Carolina, wonders why we use the phrase my two cents after expressing an opinion to indicate that we’re open to discussion about it. Since the 16th century, the term twopence has been used to mean a “paltry...

Recent posts