Daniel Patullo, Daniel, Jeffrey discussed on A Way with Words: language, linguistics, and callers from all over


If you need a different idiom to describe somebody who's really corrupt, a really crooked, you can always say, he was so crooked, he could hide behind a corkscrew. Isn't that a great visual? Yeah. That reminds me of my favorite one. It's calling something a revolving SOB. He's an SOB no matter which way you look at it. That's good. 877-929-9673. Hello, you have a way with words. Hi, this is Daniel patullo. I'm calling from Youngstown, Ohio. Hi, Daniel. Welcome to the show. Thank you for having me. So I've always had this question in my head, and I've never really been able to find an answer. Whenever I was getting my puppets car, when I was younger, without missing the beat, you would always say, we're off like a herd of turtles or a turtle hurdles. And now I don't know if he just came up with this. I've tried to look it up before, but I've never found out. And he was the kind of kooky dude, so. Spooky dude. So heard of turtles. This was your father or your grandfather. My grandfather, the grandfather. Grandfather. Okay, we're off like a herd of turtles. And did he mean anything more than we're leaving? No, it was just every time we got in the car to go somewhere, it was off like a herd of turtles or her to hurdles. You know what, Daniel? I've never heard the turd of hurdles part. I really like that. The other expression, we're off like a herd of turtles. A lot of people say it's one of several sort of fanciful sayings for taking off like that. Like we're off like a dirty shirt at the end of the day or we're often a cloud of whale dust and we're off like a herd of turtles. I mean, it's funny, isn't it for several reasons. I mean, first of all, I don't think herd is the right word for turtles. I don't know that I've ever seen. I heard of turtles. I once tried to find the collective noun for a bunch of turtles. And some people say the word is bail BAL. Bale of turtles. What your dad does with playing with the words is really funny. It's what we call a spoonerism where you switch those letters around like you say the lord is a shoving leopard instead of the lord is a loving shepherd that kind of thing. And it goes back quite a way until the 1930s at least ever since then. People are saying off like a herd of turtles, but Mario thought you talked about off like a dirty shirt, but that implies speed where a herd of turtles is rather slow and disorganized. Really slow and disorganized. I wonder, I wonder if your grandfather was hoping people would hurry up and get in the car. You would think that, but we always had to, you know, we've had plans with him. We'd always have to set the time a half an hour earlier just for him. And so he would show up just on time. He was always tardy. He was more turtle like, huh? Yeah. Well, he sounds like a clever guy. Yeah, kooky dude. Oh yeah, he is. Thank you, Daniel. No, thank you very much. Thanks for calling. Bye bye. Take care. Take off like a dirty shirt and call us 877-929-9673 or email us words at wayward radio dot org. Hello, you have a way with words. Hi, this is Jeffrey Smith from New Bern, North Carolina. Hi, Jeffrey. Welcome to the program. Hi, Jeffrey. Well, there's an expression I've often heard and I just kind of wondered what is so right about rain. You know, it just seemed like, you know, I suppose if you're in a desert, you like rain, but other than that, rain makes a lot of mud. It ruins a lot of picnics, and I was just wearing where it could have come from or why clear so pleased with rain. Unless I missed it like rain like a king monarch's reign or something. No, your original idea is the right one. It's rain. And so how would you hear it? What kind of situation would you be in? Were you here? Well, my father Texan and he had an anecdote more than Carter had liver pills and everything was had to have a follow-up. Well, is this correct? Yeah, that's right as rain. And it's like, so he's confirming that it's correct. But he always had that twist. So there could be some twist that he was born and raised in Dallas, Texas, southern and I'm Dan Yankee from Connecticut and New Jersey. And I just wondered, was it a colloquialism from Texas or is there some other reason for rain that I don't know about or? No, it's pretty old. Right as rain goes back to at least the late 19th century. And there were actually a lot of expressions like this right as a book or write as nails or right as the bank, but this is the one that survived and I'm thinking that it's probably just because of the alliteration, you know, that the two R's there right as rain. And also there may be the idea that sometimes when rain comes down it comes straight down in a straight line and it's just absolutely right, you know, sort of a right angle to the earth. But we don't really know much more about it than that. It's a pretty straightforward term. Well, just trying to prepare to ask you this question, the thing started running around my mind like two rs. I never thought of it being perpendicular to the earth. I also was thinking maybe it had to do with people talk about when you have to clean rain, everything smells fresh and it's started and it's nice again or something. But I thought I would serve it up to you guys and let you knock it out of the park. Well, I don't know if that was fun. Jeffrey, thank you so much for your call. Call us again sometime, all right? Okay, thanks for taking my call. Bye bye. All right. Bye bye. Jeffrey mentioned having more of something than Carter has pills. Well, Carter was a brand name and Carter cell liver pills, and you can find out more information about that and thousands of other things on our website at wayward radio dot org. Thanks to senior producer Stephanie Levine, editor Tim Felton, and production assistant Rachel Elizabeth weisler. You can send us messages, subscribe to the podcast and newsletter and catch up on hundreds of past episodes at wayward radio dot org. Our toll free line is always open in the U.S. and Canada, 877-929-9673, or email us, words at wayward radio dot ORG. Away with words is an independent production of wayward Inc a nonprofit supported by listeners and organizations who are changing the way the world talks about language. Many thanks to wayward board member and our friend Bruce rogo for his help and expertise. Thanks for listening. I'm grant Barrett. And I'm Martha Barnett. Until next time, goodbye. Bye.

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