Which came initially, oselection the color or oarray the fruit? And what’s a busman’s holiday? Martha and also Grant talk around bumbershoots, brollies, nursery rhymes, and alternatives to the word unicycle. Plus, an app-inspired quiz, favorite oxymorons, and the beginning of “put that in your pipe and also smoke it!” If the Google Books Corpus doesn’t sound like fun, think aobtain. And by the method, shouldn’t even more than one firm be enabled to market Monopoly? This episode initially aired June 20, 2011.

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Atavistic Words

You know those words whose definitions never before seem to stick in your mind, no issue how many type of times you flip back to the dictionary? Martha wrestles with the term atavistic, definition “the tendency to revert to ancestral attributes.” She now remembers it by the Latin root it shares with the Spanish word for “grandpa,” abuelo. Grant, subsequently, shares his revelation that upwards of actually suggests “more than,” not “approximately.”


A unicycle enthusiast wonders if his unicycle have the right to be appropriately referred to as a bike. To prevent the four-syllable mouthful, the unicycle area (yes, tright here is one) periodically calls it a uni, but for the general public, the term “bike” works. Martha reveals that she once invested a summer teaching herself to ride a unicycle, and doesn’t mind calling it a bike. Grant notes the general preeminence that once a word has left its etymological root, it deserve to be offered for whatever we require it for.


Rihanna’s hit “Umbrella” may not have actually had actually the same ring if she’d described being “under my bumbershoot.” Nonetheless, bumbershoot, bumberell, brolly, and also bumbersol, among others, are all playful choices to umbrella that even Mary Poppins would appreciate. Grant describes that bumbershoot, itself an Amerihave the right to slang term, derives from the Latin umbra, meaning “shadow,” and chute, as in “parachute.”

Comedic Tweets

Twitter’s 140-character format has actually made method for a whole new brand of comedy composing. See Judah Friedlander: “More than one firm must be enabled to offer Monopoly,” or Stephen Colbert: “It doesn’t always pay to acquire up beforehand. If you’re a worm, you just acquire consumed by that beforehand bird. So sleep in, worms.”

There’s an “App” for That

In the mood for a word puzzle? Our Quiz Guy Greg Pliska has an application for that. This week’s quiz functions options founding through the letters application. Someone afrassist to take care of the bug problem in their apartment doesn’t want to “app-roach” them!

Not My Forte

Is it worth utilizing correct pronunciation if it renders you sound ignorant or misinformed? Contrary to the prevalent expertise, the word forte is actually pronounced “fort.” Grant defines forte as a skunked word; it’s a shedding case no matter exactly how you use it. For the sake of clarity and conversational flow, it’s best rather to say that somepoint is a “strength,” a “solid suit,” or is “in one’s wheelhome.”

Busman’s Holiday

Do you ever spend your off-time doing something occupational related? This is well-known as a busman’s holiday or a postman’s holiday, as in the British expertise of holiday as a vacation or time off work. Research for a dictionary entry on postman’s holiday led Grant to an old French ragtime song referred to as “Le Facteur en Balade,” or “The Postman on a Walk”. In the proper feeling, a postman’s holiday might consist of a leisucount walk along the same course whereon he delivers the mail. Let’s simply hope it doesn’t involve acquiring chased by dogs.

Listeners’ Oxymorons

Some listeners are madly in love through oxymorons, and also they proceed to share their favorites. One listener has actually an excellent T-shirt that reads “An oxymoron a day keeps reality away.” Anvarious other claims his favorite oxymoron is “Dodge Ram.”

Buckeye Game

A listener from Richmond, Virginia, remembers an old game called buckeye that is composed of metaphorically pulling someone’s leg, then calling Buckeye! and tugging one’s own reduced eyelid. Martha suggests that it might be related to a 19th-century use of buckeye that describes “somepoint or someone inferior,” favor a country bumpkin or a rube. Hence, calling “Buckeye!” may be tantamount to calling someone a sucker for gaining tricked, or punk’d. Still, any type of explacountry for the eyelid expocertain is still pending.

Google Books Corpus

Grant is pleased as punch around BYU Professor Mark Davies’ brand-new Google Books Corpus, which consists of entries for eextremely word ever in the entire Google Books database. In enhancement to components of speech and also interpretations, the site offers contextual examples for each word. For instance, the database has actually revealed that the word suitsituation is often predelivered by the adjective battered. Writers, teachers, English learners and language enthusiasts will love prospecting in this lexical goldmine.


“Home aacquire, house again, jiggity-jig!” A listener wonders about the origin of this expression her Mvarious other frequently provided. Grant and also Martha trace it ago to another mother: Mvarious other Goose. The full line goes, “To sector, to industry, to buy a fat pig, home aacquire, house again, jiggity-jig.” It does not, contrary to a highly went to Google outcome, originate from the movie Blade Runner (though it’s a cute scene nonetheless).

Scrabble Rules

Listeners have been sharing some of their individual Scrabble rules, consisting of brand-new provides for the blank tile. For example, one variation enables for the tile to be removed and also reoffered, so if Grant were to play the blank tile as an “E” and also Martha has an “E” in her tray, she have the right to swap the tiles and also then usage the blank for her own play. Just be sure to usage it, because nobody likes someone that bogarts the blank tile!

Like It or Lump It

Downton Abbey, a regime featured on Masteritem Theater, gave a handful of vivid expressions that day surprisingly much earlier. “Like it or lump it,” definition “attend to it,” is uncovered at leastern as early on as 1830 and also takes from the old verb lump interpretation “to look sulky or disagreeable.” “Put that in your pipe and also smoke it,” a contemporary favorite interpretation “Take that!” actually reflects up around 1820. As for the expression “you’re cruising perilously cshed to the wind,” interpretation “be careful not to overstep”– well, we haven’t captured wind of the origin of that one.

Words from Women’s Suffrage

Databases choose the Google Books Corpus have the right to additionally be provided to follow text over time. For instance, as the women’s suffrage motion flourished about 1910, words relating to women’s legal rights grew in popularity and also frequency of consumption.

Original Orange

What came first, the color orange or the fruit? The original term is Sanskrit and refers to the fruit. As the fruit traveled west, the word came through it. Grant notes that, choose the terms for parts of the body, the names of colors travel incredibly well in language bereason we’re constantly speaking and creating around them. The term “orange” came to be what it is in English after the fruit made it to the French town Ovariety.

Meeting Expenses

Martha shares a quip that’s all too true: “I don’t uncover it tough to meet prices. They’re everywhere!”

This episode is held by Martha Barnette and also Grant Barrett, and developed by Stefanie Levine.

See more: What Does Chide Mean In The Bible ? What Does Chide Mean

Photograph by Joe Lewis. Used under a Creative Commons license.

Music Used in the EpisodeTitleArtistAlbumLabel
Summer In The CityQuincy JonesYou’ve Got It Bad GirlA&M Records
Dig On ItJimmy McGriffSoul SugarCapitol Records
Museum CameraDavid HolmesOcean’s Eleven SoundtrackWarner Brothers
What’s Going OnQuincy JonesSmackwater JackA&M Records
NTKool and also The GangThe Best of Kool and The Gang 1969-1976Island Mercury
Shake Your BodyThe JacksonsShake Your BodyEpic
Smoke Two JointsThe ToyesSmoke Two JointsGinger Coffee Records
The DudeQuincy JonesThe DudeA&M Records
Let’s Call The Whole Thing OffElla Fitzgerald Ella Fitzgerald Ella Fitzgerald Sings The George and also Ira Gershwin Song Publication Verve