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Work-Brittle

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A Indianapolis, Indiana, woman remembers that her Kentucky-born grandfather used to say that a lazy person wasn’t very work-brickle. The dialectal term work-brickle is a variant of work-brittle, which, in the late 19th century, described someone who was industrious. Over time, work-brittle also came to mean lazy, perhaps because of associating the word brittle with the idea of being delicate or fragile. The use of work-brittle in the positive sense of being energetic and eager to work is especially common in Indiana. This is part of a complete episode.

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