Blog Excerpts

New Seattle Radio Show Looks at Strange Language

KUOW, Seattle's NPR affiliate, kicked off a new midday show this week called The Record. The show is featuring a regular series on the origins of peculiar words and phrases called "Strange Language," and they're getting the straight dope from our own Ben Zimmer.

Here are the segments that The Record has run so far:

  • From Gravy To Drugs: Ben Zimmer On The Origin Of "Dope"

    We’ve seen lots of sports scandals in the news over the years that have to do with performance-enhancing drugs, commonly referred to as doping. Dope, from the Dutch word doop, is actually a gravy or a sauce, so how did we go from gravy to drugs? Lexicographer Ben Zimmer gives KUOW's Ross Reynolds the straight dope on dope.
    (Audio, related Word Routes column)
  • Ben Zimmer: On The Whole 9 Yards And Phrase Inflation

    Did you know that the phrase "the whole 9 yards" used to be "the whole 6 yards?" It’s true. And cloud nine, that fantastic place to be, used to be cloud seven, then cloud eight. So how did we get to nine yards and cloud nine? Ben Zimmer is back today to talk about phrase inflation as we continue our series on strange language.
    (Audio, related Word Routes column)

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