Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Colloquialisms on the Air

I'm not interested in mentioning by name that radio station again, but I heard what I thought were some interesting colloquialisms on the air this morning on the way into work.

The subject: the Darfur conflict, a subject that deserves ten times the media attention that Israel gets, let alone that it has been getting.


The first was something by the correspondent in the field, in response to an on-air correspondent's pointed question:

waka waka blah blah. That's the rub[on-air correspondent's name], blah blah ...

"That's the rub"? Since when did the word "rub" enter into the dictionary as synonymous with "main issue"? I though Shakespeare made it up.

*Type* *Type*

Ah, here it is. According to The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms, "the rub" means "the difficulty":

This expression may come from lawn bowling, where rub refers to an unevenness in the ground that impedes the ball.



The next was from a different correspondent:

waka waka blah blah. Touch wood, they hope to blah blah.

"Touch wood"? Is that like "knock on wood"? Of course, "wood" must refer to "cross". In Yiddish that would be "pooh pooh pooh", the symbolic spitting sounds used to ward off the evil eye.

*Type* *Type*

Dictionary.com does it again, this time by means of Webster's New Millennium™ Dictionary of English. It indeed is meant to ward off evil spirits. Since when do on-air correspondents use idioms like that?


The last one, again by the first correspondent:

waka waka blah blah. The refugees are hemorrhaging across the border into blah blah.

Yikes. An appropriate idiom, indeed.

Too bad I couldn't write while I was driving. I didn't realize the radio people were so idiomatic (1) (2).


(1) In it's third sense here.

(2) Something similar to "idiomatic" I already realized.

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