Tim Felton, Jimmy Hill, Charleston discussed on A Way with Words: language, linguistics, and callers from all over


Hearing on today's show is the work of sure fire soul ensemble. That's a 9 piece Afro funk and soul jazz band. And the guy who plays the organ and electric piano for them is Tim Felton. As it happens, Tim is also the editor and engineer for this very program. We want to give a big shout out to surefire soul ensemble because their latest album debuted in the top 15 of billboard's contemporary jazz chart. It's called step down. We will post more information about it on our website. And by the way, you can always find all of the songs mentioned by name and artist on our website go to wayward radio dot org. Hello, you have a way with words. Hi. This is Jimmy hill. And I reside in Charleston, South Carolina. Charleston, South Carolina. Welcome to the show. What can we do for you, jeanine? I was born in southwestern Pennsylvania. Nothing but little coal mining villages. Very ethnic Eastern European Polish Hungarian Romanian czechoslovakian. And the folks there, I heard it from my parents, as well as my grandparents. And childhood friends, if you encountered someone when we'd be driving about the countryside, that had a lot of junk mattresses thrown down over the hillside or washing machines, refrigerators. And just have old surroundings, my family would say, oh, they're nothing but feather merchants. And this is I believe unique to that area because anytime I've asked others, they are totally unfamiliar with it. And I guess it just means someone trashy or lazy. But I concluded as a child. What you need, I'm wondering, do any of those family members who use the term feather merchant in a derogatory way? Do any of them have any military in their background? No. Definitely not. Interesting. Surprises me. Yeah, it surprises me too because, of course, they're really worth feather merchants in the past, you know, in the 1800s, those were business people who literally sold feathers for use in clothes making and pillows and things like that. But in the mid 20th century in this country, the term feather merchant took on another kind of meaning specifically among members of the U.S. Military. It referred to somebody who was kind of a lightweight like a feather. Somebody who's a weakling or somebody who shirks responsibility or maybe has an undeservedly cushy job and the term was used specifically to refer to civilians. People in the military would refer to civilians as feather merchants. You know, there were lightweights. They didn't put their lives on the line. They didn't have to obey the chain of command. And so you can see how a dismissive term like that. That's why I was asking if there were any military connection because it was kind of a dismissive term referring to civilians. Isn't that interesting because I have been sitting here going through my head in terms of military experience and my uncle was in the army and the early 60s. However, I'm really never heard it from him. That was on my paternal side..

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