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To Be in the Soup

Jennifer in Omaha, Nebraska, is curious about the origin of the phrase to be in the soup, meaning “to get into trouble.” This is part of a complete episode.

Double George

Andrew in Omaha, Nebraska, recalls his grandfather’s use of the word george to mean exceptionally good, and double george to mean really great. Other masculine names, including Jake, Tom, and Jerry have sometimes meant something similar. In...

BP, Before Present, Dating

Jessica in Omaha, Nebraska, was excited to discover an arrowhead, then puzzled when archaeologists told her that its age was probably between 6000-3000 BP. Why do some scientists measure time with the designation BP, or Before Present, instead of BC...

Prepone: Put Before

Aru in Omaha, Nebraska, says friends and colleagues tease him about his use of prepone, usually used to mean “move an appointment to an earlier date or time.” It’s a word commonly used in Indian English, is morphologically sound, and...

Homey vs. Homely

A woman in Omaha, Nebraska, wonders about the difference between the adjectives homey and homely. In the UK, the word homely is still a positive term that means cozy, whereas in the US it usually means “unattractive” or “plain...

Bear-Caught

An Omaha, Nebraska, man asks about the origin of the term bear-caught, which applies to someone with sunstroke or heat exhaustion. The point of popularization for this expression appears to be a 1965 book by Donn Pearce and its subsequent movie...