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Barge, a Bit of Older Santa Cruz Slang

When Sarah, of Yorktown, Virginia, moved to Santa Cruz, California, in her teens, she was intrigued by skateboard slang, particularly the use of the word barge to indicate “a challenging feat” or “a long distance.” This is...

“Ta-Da” Echoes a Musical Flourish

Julie from Jacksonville, Florida, shares a lovely story of her husband’s increasing use of the word Ta-da! In lieu of other words or to point out a success. Ta-da! references the sound of a musical flourish, such as that of a trumpet. This is...

Episode 1526

Abso-Bloomin-Lutely

The autocomplete function on your phone comes in handy, of course. But is it changing the way we write and how linguists study language? Also, suppose you could invite any two authors, living or dead, to dinner. Who’s on your guest list and...

Sea-kindly

A sea-kindly boat is one that handles well on the ocean. The kindly reflects an old use of the word to mean “suited” or “suitable.” This is part of a complete episode.

Bed Pallet

Melanie in San Antonio, Texas, wonders about the use of the word pallet to mean improvised bedding on the floor. It goes back to a French term for it, paillet, which comes from a word meaning straw. The word also appears in some translations of the...

Gauming Around

When Matt was growing up in western North Carolina, he heard the word gaum, also spelled gom, meaning a mess. Someone misbehaving might be described as gauming around, or something was gaumed up, meaning messed up, or a person was dismissed as...