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Picklebacks and Mountweazels

Martha and Grant talk about phrases you love to hate, like “Do you mind if I put you on hold?” They also talk about mountweazels, jakey bums, picklebacks, and step-ins. And which is the proper term: mothers-in-law or mother-in-laws?

Word Encounters of the First Kind

There’s a frisson you get when you meet a word for the first time—feeling pleasantly stumped in between wondering, “What the heck does that mean?” and hurrying off to find out. Martha and Grant talk about some terms that had just...

bike leg

bike leg  n.— «Casati, like many other bike riding University of Montana students and faculty members, has gotten into the habit of rolling up a pant leg—or two—in order to keep it from catching in the bike chain. […] This fashion...

munch

munch  n.— «They directed me to a monthly BDSM get-together known as a Munch. You might be expecting people in leather harnesses and nipple clamps, but not tonight. It was all plain clothes, plainer food and surprisingly plain people...

q school

q school  n.— «After graduating from Yale, Lee spent the next two years playing on the Futures Tour—the equivalent of baseball’s minor leagues. Lee was then invited this past winter to enter qualifying school—or “Q School” as it is known...

skimming

skimming  n.— «The last step in processing is the separation of data into different streams based on the event types apparent in each collision. This process, called skimming, was performed at the computing centers—SLAC, GridKa in Germany...