In high school, no one thinks twice about cheering for the Fighting Trojans or the Tigers. But what about the Hickman Kewpies? Or the Maryville Spoofhounds? Martha and Grant talk about some of the odder names for school athletic teams. Also, in this episode: If you’re queasy, are you nauseous or nauseated? How do you pronounce the word sorry? And why do conservative Democrats call themselves Blue Dogs?
This episode first aired December 5, 2009.
How to Say Sorry
How do you pronounce the word sorry? SORE-ee? SAHR-ee? A Connecticut woman says her family pronounces this word four different ways, and is hoping her way is correct.
Is there a name for those vocal sound we make when shrugging our shoulders or wordlessly affirming something with an “mm-hm”?
An App for That Quiz
Quiz Guy John Chaneski has a puzzle called “There’s An App For That.” The challenge is to guess what new word is formed by tacking the letters A-P-P on to another one. For example, what new word appears when you add A-P-P to the word that means “a soothing balm or salve.”
Etymology of Colorblind
How’d we get the term colorblind, and when it did come to be mean “indifferent to race”?
Really??? Really! A college student in Provo, Utah, says he’s hearing this expression of sarcastic incredulity more and more— even catching himself saying this to his cellphone when it dropped a call. He suspects it comes from Saturday Night Live. Does it? Really? Here’s a great example of that show’s use of the expression.
Complainant vs. Complainer
A Connecticut cop says his dad, a retired professor of English and comparative literature at Yale, has been reading his son’s police reports. They disagree about whether complainant is a legitimate word, or whether it should be complainer.
Here’s a riddle: “I’m weightless, but you can see me. Put me in a bucket, and I’ll make it lighter. What am I?” Martha has the answer.
Online Crossword Help
Grant shares online sites that can help you solve a difficult crossword puzzle or anagram words to help you get the highest scores in Scrabble. WordNavigator and Wordsmith.org’s anagram server.
Nauseous vs. Nauseated
A veteranian says her colleague insists that nauseous means “contagious.” Is that right? And if you’re queasy, are you nauseous or nauseated?
A Burlington, Vermont, man says his mother and grandmother used the expression journey proud to denote being restless, nervous, or excited, especially on the eve of an upcoming trip.
“I’ll be there at three-ish.” “That shirt is bluish.” “It wasn’t a house— but it was house-ish.” OK, but what in the world does ish mean, exactly?
Photo by ThreeIfByBike. Used under a Creative Commons license.