Submitted by lynn  •  December 7, 2004

Newfoundland Expression

Hello!

I’m hoping someone can help me with this one. I’m searching for the origins of “Jiggs Dinner”. In Newfoundland this is the traditional Sunday dinner consisting of peas pudding (yes, from the old nursery rhyme, salt meat, cabbage, carrot, turnip, and potatoes, all cooked in the same pot). In case anyone is wondering, it is delicious. ;-)

My question is: Who is Jigg and why are we eating his dinner? No one here seems to have any information on the origin of the name.

Thanks much,

Submitted by ensanders  •  December 4, 2004

Stumbling

Which one(s) is (are) correct? Which one(s) would you use?

Stumbled upon Stumbled accross Stumbled on Stumbled into Stumbled in Stumbled onto

Submitted by samour  •  December 3, 2004

Die theater / die party

Hello, everyone! Pardon my ignorance, but could anyone tell me what a “die theater” or “die party” mean? There’s no context. It’s just a phrase from a grammmar book. (I went to die party last night). So, maybe it’s a misprint? And they intended just the article “THE”? I did not find anything on the Net, they suggest that it’s German!!! (’die’ is an article in German), so who can explain it, please? Thanks to everybody.

Submitted by olehustedjensen  •  November 29, 2004

Double header

What is a “double header” on Memorial Day? Is it 2 baseball games in a row (who can stand to watch 2 games in a row?) I found the expression on page 5 in Philip Roth’s latest novel “The plot agsinst America”

Submitted by marta  •  November 16, 2004

See you laters???

Hello everybody there! A few days ago a friend of mine asked me a question like this: ‘is it possible to say in English ‘’See you laters'’ with the ‘s’ attached to ‘later’ ‘? She claimed she had heard it from an English native. As a humble non-native speaker of English, I was a bit puzzled and found no answer. And how do YOU feel about this?

Submitted by ladylucy  •  November 15, 2004

I don’t think...

One thing that often makes me stop and think is when people use the following type of statement: “I don’t think you told me to pick up milk.” Is it true that I don’t think? No. It is true that “I think you didn’t tell me to pick up milk.” But because of my lifetime speaking habits, I don’t even take the time to speak this way. And it even sounds slightly snooty. How do other people feel about this?

Submitted by wildweasel  •  November 4, 2004

Fifty G’s if you get this one

Lately I’ve been curious about some odd terms for describing American currency (even though I am an American myself).

1. Why is one thousand referred to as “grand” (i.e. one hundred grand)? And how did it degenerate into G (i.e. “5 G’s if you get this right”)?

2. Where did “bucks” come from? It seems to have no relation whatsoever to “dollars” and, although it’s easier to say, how the heck did it come to be?

Submitted by ceilming  •  October 16, 2004

rubber meets the road?

Could someone explain to me the meaning of “when rubber meets the road?”

Submitted by anita  •  October 10, 2004

Screw The Pooch

Does anyone know the history of the phrase “screw the pooch” and exactly what it means? Thanks.

Submitted by giles  •  October 5, 2004

Five by Five

Where does the term ‘five by five’ come from? I first heard it on ‘Buffy the Vampire Slayer’, but have since heard it in a military setting. The context on ‘Buffy’ is:

How are you doing? Five by five!

I take it to mean something like ‘fine’, ‘great’ or something similar. Does anyone know how it came to be?

Submitted by ghoti  •  September 23, 2004

Talking through your hat

A new English expression I have encountered is “talking through your hat”. Does anyone here know anything about this?

I think it must make your voice very muffled! (Joke!)

Submitted by amy  •  September 4, 2004

“I says”

Where did the grammatic mutilation “I says” come from? It only seems to be used in place of “I said” when someone is relating a story that happened in the past. Random example: “So last week I was talking to my friend, and I says, ‘What do you think about that?’”

Submitted by marta  •  September 3, 2004

washeteria

Hi guys! I’ve just dug up 3 new lingual curiosities: ‘washeteria’, ‘yogurgitation’ and ‘in-a-gadda-da-meeting’. How do you like them? ‘washeteria’ sounds to me like a Spanish word ‘cafeteria’ so it probably means a place where you take a shower; ‘yogurgitation’ is nicely connected with ‘yoghurt’ but it suggests throwing it up; the third word refers to a meeting, which could have been done in half of the time it actually took. However its spelling seems to me a little bit exotic. Can you help with the explanation?

Submitted by marta  •  August 31, 2004

tuitions in graffiti

Is there any nice and concise word for a person who is given private tuitions and the one for sb who makes graffiti?

Submitted by vindibul2  •  August 24, 2004

“Zen” as an Adjective

I recently had the urge to use “Zen” to describe a way of traveling light, calm, and without want. However, after looking in a dictionary, I learned that “zen” is not listed as ever being an adjective. How can this be so? I am absolutely sure I have heard things being described as “zen” on television and in media. In a phrase such as “Zen garden” would “Zen” be an adjective, or would “Zen Garden” function as an entire, or proper, noun? Just wondering. Thanks.

Submitted by vindibul2  •  August 23, 2004

“In your debt”

A friend was thankful for a gift I gave him today and said to me, “I am in your debt. No, wait... you are in my debt. Thanks.”

I am now thinking about the meaning of these idioms. We’ve all heard variants of this (not using the word “indebted”):

1: “I am in your debt.” 2: “You are in my debt.” 3: “I am in debt to you. 4: “You are in debt to me.”

I am now unclear if the users of these phrases are using them correctly. Whom owes whom? Right now, I am seeing it like this: 1: Speaker is stating that listener owes something to speaker. 2: Statement that listener owes something to listener. 3: Speaker owes something to listener. 4: Statement that listener owes something to speaker.

Are these correct? Are there more clear variants of showing indebtedness (I now open the subject up to using the word “indebted”)?

Submitted by Dyske  •  August 6, 2004

Color of People

A friend of mine told me that “colored people” is offensive, but “people of color” isn’t. As far as I can see, they mean exactly the same thing. Why is one offensive but not the other?

Submitted by marta  •  August 3, 2004

Potatoes

‘Couch potato’ is a phrase, which everybody knows already. I’ve also found ‘mouse potato’, which means a person glued all the time to the computer or tv screen, (treated as one of the English neologisms). Do you know any other types of ‘potatoes’?

Submitted by goossun  •  July 29, 2004

OK

Does anyone know the origin of the word okay or O.K. or OK? I once heard that that has to do with French and is derived from some Mississippian dialect and so. Does that make any sense at all? The bad thing is that I do not quite remember what I was told, neither I remember the supposedly original French word.

Submitted by goossun  •  July 29, 2004

Looking for a word

Is there any informal, figurative and rather impolite way of calling someone lazy? Any slang etc.?

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