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Far Out Origin

A San Diego, California, listener wonders if the expression far out originally had to do with surfing. This expression describing something excellent or otherwise impressive originated in the world of jazz, where far out suggested the idea of...

How Was “Gnarly” Coined?

A surfer in Imperial Beach, California, wonders who coined the word gnarly to describe waves that are particularly challenging. This term may have originated in the slang of surfers in South Africa in the 1970s and eventually spread into everyday...

Surf Lingo

Martha reports that, during her recent attempt at learning to surf, she picked up lots of surfing lingo in between wipeouts. Such terms included tombstoning and pearling, both of which she did quite a bit. This is part of a complete episode.

A Skosh about Surfing and Tweets

Ahoy! We kicked off the new fall season of "A Way with Words" this weekend, asking, "How much humor and personality can you pack into a 140-character update? A lot, it seems. We discuss funny Twitter feeds, the origins of...

Bottle Room and Shred

In this week’s slang quiz, a member of the National Puzzlers’ League from Somerville, Massachusetts, tries to guess the meaning of bottle room and shred, the latter as used in the context of snowboarding, skateboarding, and surfing. This...

mouse type

mouse type  n.—Gloss: Defined in the Dictionary for Library and Information Science as “very tiny, barely readable type used for…information the seller is required to display but wishes to downplay.” «Charter is taking...