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America's Secret Slang

America's Secret Slang

The history of America is buried in a surprising place—the unique phrases we use every day. What’s the story behind our most popular slang phrases, from “dyed in the wool” and “long in the tooth” to “three sheets to the wind” and “dead as a doornail?” Even words as simple as “hello” and “goodbye” contain secret messages—powerful hidden records of the American story.

Straight From The Horse's Mouth
Why do we 'chew the fat' when we talk? And why do we 'kick the bucket' when we die? These terms have shown that American English evolved and mutated through the food we eat and the end we want to avoid.
Lower The Boom
Why is a rich, powerful person called a 'tycoon'? And why are supermarket scandal sheets called 'tabloids'? We explore how American English was transformed by shakers of big business and the news industry.
Riding Shotgun
We look at how transportation and intoxicating substances influenced the common words and phrases we say every day. Why are 'highways' high? Also, who put the hero in heroin and the ooze in booze?
Off The Cuff
Explore how American English has been transformed till today. Does 'blackmail' have anything to do with mail? What's the difference between a 'nerd' and a 'geek' and who was the first person to use 'OMG'?
Cut To The Chase
We look at how entertainment from circuses to movies, influenced the common words and phrases used every day. How did rude actors 'upstage' someone, and how did the movies give us 'cliffhanger'?
Bite The Bullet
Ever wonder why a 'last ditch effort' rarely involves digging? Why do we shoot at a bulls-eye, and is it 'duct' tape or 'duck' tape? All these words and phrases show the richness and depth of the language.
Go For Broke
Why is a 'red letter day' good, but being 'in the red' is bad? Did the term 'Cold War' really begin in the Middle Ages? When it comes to the American language, we speak our history every day.
Hail To The Chief
Who invented the phrase 'Founding Fathers'? Why is the word 'hysterical' an insult to women? When it comes to manners, explore the strange roots of words like 'snob', 'stuck up', 'hello' and 'goodbye'.