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Episode 1532

Off the Turnip Truck

It’s hard to imagine now, but there was a time when people disagreed over the best word to use when answering the phone. Alexander Graham Bell suggested answering with ahoy! but Thomas Edison was partial to hello! A fascinating new book about...

Charlie’s Dead

Elizabeth from Cape Cod, Massachusetts, wonders why some people say Charlie’s dead to indicate to someone that her slip is showing. No one knows which Charlie this expression refers to. Similar euphemisms include it’s snowing down south...

Monday is Longer than Tuesday

A listener remembers her mother used to say, “Your Monday is longer than your Tuesday.” This phrase offered a subtle way to notify someone that her slip was showing. Other expressions convey that warning as well, including “Monday...

Origin of Movie Trailers

Grab some popcorn, slip into a folding seat, and you’re ready to watch the coming attractions. But if they’re shown before the main feature, why in the world are movie previews called trailers? Enjoy these old movie trailers at Turner...

Etymology of Moded

It’s California in the 1980s, and—uh-oh!—you’re outsmarted or caught doing something stupid and someone else says, “Ooooooooooo, moded!” This Schadenfreudian slip of an expression was sometimes accompanied by a chin-stroking...