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Hiker Trail Names and Trail Angels

As a Wyoming caller noted in an earlier episode, through-hikers on routes like the Appalachian Trail give each other trail names — jocular appellations that stick throughout their trek. The origin stories of several of these are told in the book...

Episode 1553

Play It by Ear

How does social context shape our perception of language? When hiking the Appalachian Trail, a young woman from Wyoming found that fellow hikers assumed she was from another country, not only because of how she spoke, but also how she looked...

Muckety-Muck, Muckymuck, Muckamuck

Niesey from Laramie, Wyoming, is curious about the word mucky-muck, meaning “an important person,” and often “someone self-important.”  Usually spelled muckety-muck, or muckamuck, it’s  associated with the...

Subpar vs. Under Par

Joseph from Wilson, Wyoming, wonders: Why is subpar, or in other words under par, a good thing in golf but nowhere else? This is part of a complete episode.

Vinegar Mother

A woman in Cheyenne, Wyoming, says her mom used to refer to the cloudy scum that sometimes forms atop vinegar as mother. The term has been around at least 500 years, and can refer to the scum on the top or sediment on the bottom. It’s also...

Good Leather

A Wyoming native asks about the origin of her father’s term of approbation, good leather. Grant thinks it might be from baseball, where good leather means “good fielding with a leather ball in a leather glove.” This is part of a...