A Way with Words


I usually listen to the Top 40 Station when I’m in the car, but sadly, the stations play what seems like the same 12 songs. Over. And over. And OVER. And then I end up hating the song. Why radio stations, WHY?!

But NPR is awesome. While some of their shows are totally over my head, I really enjoy the program called “A Way with Words.” And it got me to thinking. What are some of my favorite words?

Yeah, I have totally random thoughts in the car. Especially in traffic.

So I’m a girl from the San Francisco Bay Area in California, and one of the signature slang words is “Hella” meaning a lot of, or really, or super. For example, “Liz’s wedding shoes were hella awesome and sparkly.” And it is particular to Northern California. Even confirmed on Wikipedia. Other forms of the word are “hecka” which I used when I was younger so as not to get in trouble for saying “hell”. I don’t find myself saying it too much now in Texas, because I’m guessing I might get stared at.

Enzo Angiolini sparkly pumps heels wedding shoes

I really like the phrase “Hot Mess”. I use it all the time. I don’t even really know where this phrase originates, but I feel like it’s an all encompassing term for things that are just a disaster. For example, “After I shoot a session in the summertime, I look like a total hot mess.” And I’ll save you from seeing me looking a hot mess.

Dude. I say “dude” a lot. I remember once when I called my mom dude. She looked at me and said, “I am not a dude.” It was funny at the time. And if you know my mom, she now says “dude” a lot too.

I also enjoy the cross-pollination of words. Such as “ginormous” which is a combination of “giant” and “enormous”. For example, “I have this ginormous purse and can never find anything in it. It’s a bottomless pit.” Another favorite is “fantabulous” a combo of “fantastic” and “fabulous.” My sister says I say and write fabulous far too much. And while looking up the origin of these words, I discovered there’s a fancy term for them: portemanteaus.

From the radio program, I learned that another phrase for “white noise” is “acoustic perfume”. And I learned the word “fomite”. Thanks to the wonderful thing called the Interwebs, you can listen to the episode here.

NPR is awesome. And educational. I feel way smarter after listening.

And if I were in the car more often at the right time on Saturdays, I’d tune into This American Life, hosted by the amazing Ira Glass. Luckily episodes are available on iTunes, which I subscribe to the weekly podcast. Episodes are great for plane rides, long car trips, and if I had an iPod jack in my car, I’d listen while I drive. For sure. Oh and I just discovered they have an iPhone app. AWESOME!

What are some of your favorite words or phrases?

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