1
vote
2answers
140 views

Origin of New Jersey idiom “down the shore”

As a native Midwesterner, I was very puzzled to hear my wife (who is from northern New Jersey) use that idiom. I understand what it means, and as far as I can remember I understood what it meant from ...
8
votes
2answers
424 views

why do some people call green peppers mangoes?

I have heard people from Lima, Ohio refer to green peppers as mangoes. How did that come about?
2
votes
2answers
481 views

What is the origin of “I calls ’em like I sees ’em”?

This expression seems to be pretty widespread, for example being in Wiktionary and Futurama. Does anyone know what the origin is? Also, what kind of dialect might I calls or I sees be?
1
vote
1answer
684 views

What is the difference between “so to do” and “to do so”

I believe that both are correct. I.e. I have got the Christmas Eve off this year but my partner has failed so to do. is equivalent to I have got the Christmas Eve off this year but my ...
3
votes
2answers
6k views

Where did “duck, duck, gray duck” come from?

Duck, Duck, Goose is a common children's game but a typical Minnesotan calls the game a slightly different name: Duck, Duck, Gray Duck. I have never talked to anyone outside of Minnesota that knows of ...
2
votes
2answers
237 views

Use of the word 'together' as in the Norfolk dialect

In the Norfolk dialect, which I learned at my mother's and grandmother's knee, the word 'together'(pronounced 'tergatha') is used in an additional sense. If there are two people outside I might say ...
2
votes
2answers
319 views

How widely used is the word “tush”

In my dialect of American English, the word "tush" or "tushy" is a dimminuitive of "rear end" (e.g., something you'd say about a baby, not as harsh as "butt" and a word you aren't ashamed to say to ...
3
votes
1answer
171 views

Origin of using “gets to”

As I was writing an email to someone today, at the end of the message in jest I wrote: Well, I best gets to workin’. After I wrote it I looked at the phrase I best gets to. It came to me as if ...
13
votes
5answers
1k views

History and usage of “dooryard”

I have been interested in the expression "dooryard stop" recently. This is an expression that is used to describe a short visit in someone's dooryard (driveway) that often means not staying long ...
9
votes
5answers
514 views

OED Appeals: Origin of “bimble”

The OED has made a public appeal for help in tracing the history of some English words, including: bimble verb earlier than 1983 The word bimble, meaning ‘to move at a leisurely pace’, ...
6
votes
4answers
464 views

Origin of “Erry” (every)

I have noticed a trend in some rap music where erry replaces the word every (see 1:35 of "The Motto" by Drake). Can anyone shed light on the origins of this pronunciation? I thought it might trace to ...
3
votes
1answer
429 views

Do things that “get one’s rocks off ” always “rock one’s socks off ”?

I see both of these two phrases used quite often and I have to question why rocks are so cool here. Is there a history behind both of these sayings, and is possible that both of them are just mere ...
6
votes
2answers
2k views

Origins of the south-western Pennsylvania slang word “Yinz”

A common slang word used in south western Pennsylvania and the forefront example of of what is commonly known as "Pittsburghese" is the word: Yinz Pronounced: | yinz | Or alternatively it is ...
1
vote
3answers
1k views

“Salty” in place of expensive?

Someone I know was talking about 600gb hard drives and his description of the cost was "salty". When I asked him to clarify, he told me it meant that they were expensive. I have searched and can't ...
2
votes
2answers
207 views

Origin and usage of “for choice”

I recently encountered the phrase "for choice" to mean "by preference". At first it didn't look like idiomatic English to me, but a web search turned it up in a few other places. Is this common in ...
11
votes
2answers
3k views

“That's okay” to mean “no” or “don't bother”?

Growing up, I became accustomed to using the phrase "that's okay" to mean "no" or "don't bother." For example: Waitress: Yous guys want any dessert?Patron [shaking head to mean no]: That's ...
6
votes
6answers
3k views

Etymology of “fixing to”

As a Southerner, I completely understand the meaning of fixing to. It means I'm getting ready to do something. But what I don't understand is where this rather unusual usage of fix comes from. Nothing ...
5
votes
2answers
1k views

What is the meaning and etymology of the adjective “jammy”, of Yorkshire English?

What is the etymology of the adjective jammy? As in, Thou art a jammy bugger! I confess I've never seen the word before. When I looked it up, I found confusing etymologies: one source says it ...
8
votes
4answers
5k views

“The thing is, is that…”

This is a phrase I've heard many people use, and it sounds wrong to me; e.g.: The thing about that is, is that she might take it the wrong way. It seems to treat "The thing [...] is"—the entire ...
16
votes
7answers
23k views

Why is a woman's purse called a “pocketbook”?

It's not a book, and it doesn't fit in anyone's pocket. Why does my brother-in-law insist on calling his wife's purse a pocketbook? I'm interested in the etymology, and in the chronological and ...
2
votes
1answer
941 views

Origin of jive slang

Where did the jive style of slang come from? It sounds pretty funny... specially from that scene in Airplane.
19
votes
7answers
36k views

What does “thy” mean?

I read a sentence containing the word thy, but I cannot find the meaning of that word. Is it older English, or is it still used in contemporary English today?