Laramie, Dover, Novel Ulysses discussed on A Way with Words: language, linguistics, and callers from all over


Here's a cool term that you might want to extend as a metaphor in your own life. And that's the term channel fever. Channel fever refers to the feeling that sailors get when they're nearing home. You know, they're so anxious and excited. But they're not quite there yet. So the English term, so it's English sailors in the English Channel, but not quite to the port yet. Originally, yeah, yeah, probably probably arose during World War II, you know, coming back across the channel and seeing those white cliffs of Dover or something. Channel fever. Channel fever. When anything is almost over, you know, you're experiencing that channel fever. Yeah, we've extended the term senioritis in our House for that. Ah, there you go. Right, senioritis is when you're in high school and you're almost done and you just don't care about grades or class or anything about ready to graduate. So senior, you could have senioritis for almost ready to depart for a big trip. That senioritis for the trip. You're ready to go. Ready to go. Even though it's days away, you're at paying attention to what you're doing because your mind is already at the destination. 877-929-9673. Hello, you have a way with words. Hello. This is Mary in Laramie, Wyoming. Hello, Mary and Laramie. How are you doing? Well, I am hoping that you all can give me some information with regard to a term that my mother who was from Fort Worth Texas used frequently and that term is possible bath, as in take a possible bath, as opposed to a tub bath or a shower bath, or a bed bath or a sink bath. A possible bath. And what do you think she meant by that? Well, in our family, it meant taking a bath in the sink and just washing off the smelly parts of the body as in the one foot in the sink, the other foot in the sink. Under the arms, et cetera, et cetera. So that's what she meant by it. But I never could understand the meaning of the word possible. And I only heard it have only heard it in my lifetime coming from the mouths of Texans. Well, the expression is pretty straightforward. There's a saying that first you wash up as far as possible and then you wash down as far as possible. And then you wash your possibles. Okay. That is really interesting. Well, you're going to love this. It's not just Texas, in fact, if you take a look at James Joyce's 1922 novel Ulysses, there's a description of a possible bath in there. After heaven's sakes, that's amazing. How about that? One of the characters talks about how she washed up and down as far as possible and somebody else says, well, did you wash possible? I love it. Oh, thank you. Yeah, yeah, it's also in Maya Angelou's wonderful book. I know why the cage bird sings. Wash as far as possible, then wash possible. Very good. Well, thank you so much for doing the research on that. We're always glad to help. Thank you so much for your call, Mary. You bet. Thank you. Thanks, Mary. Bye bye. Bye. What is the euphemistic of refined speech that you use to talk about difficult or awkward things 877-929-9673 email words at wayward radio dot org or tell us on Twitter at W ay WOR D. 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 bye.

Coming up next