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To Do Something of the Morning

John says that many of the older patients in his Northeast Tennessee orthopedics clinic will refer to habitual activity as occurring of the morning or of the evening. The vastly more common versions of these phrases in the South and South Midlands...

Blueberry Money

If someone still has their blueberry money, chances are they’re a bit stingy. This term from the American Northeast refers to those who’ve held onto the change they made picking and selling blueberries as a kid. This is part of a...

Sneakers vs. Tennis Shoes vs. Trainers

How do you refer to rubber-soled athletic shoes? Are they sneakers or tennis shoes? Something else, like trainers? When canvas shoes with soft rubber soles came into use, they were so quiet compared to wood-soled shoes that one could literally sneak...

Turnpike

What’s the difference between a turnpike and a highway? In the 1700s, privately funded roads were constructed in the Northeast to connect commercial centers, but tolls were charged in order to pay for the wood planks that covered the road;...

A Murmuration of Starlings

If you’ve eaten crispy chicken, you might also have had jo-jo potatoes. Speaking of chicken, ever wonder why colonel isn’t pronounced KOH-loh-nell? Grant and Martha have the answers to those nagging little questions, like the difference...

Putz Around

If someone’s being a bit lazy, or just moseying aimlessly, we say they’re putzing around. But the word put derives from the Yiddish for penis. Plenty of Yiddish words have made their way into the common vernacular, especially in the...