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Episode 1586

Mittens in Moonlight

Need a slang term that can replace just about anynoun? Try chumpie. If you’re from Philadelphia, you may already know this handy placeholder word. And there’s Queens, Brooklyn, Staten Island, Manhattan, and … The Bronx — why do we add...

Surcy, Sursee, A Small Gift

Matthew from Columbia, South Carolina, is curious about the word sirsee, a small gift or knickknack. Scattered through much of the American South, this colloquial term is sometimes spelled as surcy, or any of several other variations. The word may...

Preesh! A Way of Saying Thanks

Andrew in Fort Worth, Texas, says a customer in the paint store where he works was a bit taken aback when Andrew filled his order, waved goodbye, and said, Preesh!, meaning “I appreciate your coming in!” or “We appreciate your...

Cornswoggled and Hornswoggled

Margaret from Dallas, Texas, wonders about a word that both her grandfather and mother use: cornswoggled. It means “confused.” Cornswoggled is a variation of hornswoggled or hornswaggled, which originally meant “to be...

Book It! Leaving In A Hurry

What’s the origin of the slang term book it!, meaning “depart quickly”? Since slang terms often cross-pollinate, it’s possible that by the 1960s and 1970s this expression formed at the confluence of three other slang terms:...