Cindy in Spokane, Washington, says her father would bid his loved ones good-bye by saying tap ’er light. The phrase comes from miners’ slang of the early 1900s and is a gentle admonition to take care to avoid cave-ins or prematurely detonating explosives. High-grade, meaning to select the best items for oneself out of a larger collection of items, is another example of slang from the mines. It’s a reference to a worker selecting some of the best ore and pocketing it instead of turning it over to the company. This is part of a complete episode.
- Cabin Fever (episode #1547) 04/21/2020: The adjectives canine and feline refer to dogs and cats. But how does English address other groups of animals? Plus, cabin fever has been around... [more]
- Singing Sand (episode #1546) 04/06/2020: Cat hair may be something you brush off, but cat hair is also a slang term that means "money." In the same way, cat beer... [more]
- Baby's Breath (episode #1545) 03/23/2020: Have you ever googled your own name and found someone else who goes by the very same moniker? There's a word for that: googleganger. Plus,... [more]
- Hog on Ice (episode #1544) 03/09/2020: One secret to writing well is … there is no secret! There's no substitute for simply sitting down day after day to practice the craft... [more]
- Goody Two-Shoes (episode #1543) 02/24/2020: She sells seashells by the seashore. Who is the she in this tongue twister? Some claim it's the young Mary Anning, who went on to... [more]