America's Secret Slang

America's Secret Slang

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Riding Shotgun

Jun 07, 2014 | 43m 11s | tv-14 | CC

Every day we use words and phrases that come from deep within our history. Their origins reveal a lot about us and where we came from, but most of us have no idea what these terms originally meant. In this episode we look at how forms of transportation from horses to trains to cars, and different intoxicating substances from opium to booze, influenced the common words and phrases we say every day. Why do insensitive people “ride roughshod” over others, while lucky people ride the “gravy train?” Who put the jay in “jaywalker,” and the bus in “busboy?” Why are “highways” high, what do “turnpikes” turn, and why is a wild person “hell on wheels?” When it comes to substances, who put the hero in heroin, the junk in junkie, and the ooze in booze? And what’s the connection between George Washington and the words grog and groggy?

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