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A listener in Fairbanks, Alaska, says her husband has long referred to her as a whippersnapper, insisting it’s a playful term of endearment. Whippersnapper goes back to the 17th century, when boys who didn’t own horses would strut around cracking whips, imitating men who actually did use the snap of whips to urge on their horses. The term snippersnapper, meaning “a young, arrogant man,” had been in use before then and probably influenced this word’s formation. The French word freluquet is roughly equivalent to whippersnapper. This is part of a complete episode.

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