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"exploring the meaning of phrases throughout history"

Host: Don Hill

Where do phrases like dead ringer or fight tooth and nail come from? How have the meanings of these phrases changed throughout history? CKUA explores these interesting historical tidbits on a new series called Expressions. Cheers, OK, tie the knot -we all use these terms, but do we know their origins? Make no small plans to listen for Expressions – Tuesdays to Saturdays. Miss one? See below for the vignettes archived online. We’ll go the whole nine yards to give you the goods… or our name is mud.

Proudly Sponsored by Sunik Roofing

Know someone who’s interested in language? Want to add something unusual to your waiting room? Bored on your commute to work? Here’s your solution.

Speaking in Tongues is culled from the Expressions series, hosted by Don Hill. Listeners asked Don to write a book. And he asked Jack Bride to come up with some original illustrations to complement some of the phrases and maxims.

Many sayings have had twists & turns of meaning over time; it’s remarkable how common phrases got bent out of shape. So, if you’re up for some fun and enjoy oddball language – mumbo jumbo that can make your day a little lighter – you will enjoy Speaking in Tongues.

Buy the e-book for $6.99 here (with every purchase, you support CKUA).


Vignette Archives

Go Over Like a Lead Balloon
Hem and Haw
Down in the Dumps
Old Codger
Have A Lot Of Gaul
Old Hack
Does Not Matter One Iota
Knock On Wood
Of Sound Mind And Body
Take The Cake
Cold Shoulder
Lame Duck
Harbinger Of Doom
One More For The Road
Monkey On Your Back
Knock Your Socks Off
Give Me A Break
Don’t Be Silly
Coming Down The Pike
Top Banana
Sleep Tight
Put A Sock In It
Go Whole Hog
Gives the Willies
Whet Your Whistle
Pop The Question
Off The Record
Get Your Goat
Humble Pie
Bread Always Falls Buttered Side Down
Ear to the Ground
Make No Bones About It
Pass the Buck
You’re Fired
Never Had It So Good
Gone Berserk
A Dark and Stormy Night
A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words
Pig in a Poke
The Jig is Up
Murphy’s Law
Brass Tacks
Hanky Panky
Gee Whiz
Things Crop Up
Follow the Money
Don’t Throw the Baby Out with the Bathwater
Do a Number
Your Name is Mud
Make No Small Plans
Dead Ringer
Raining Cats and Dogs
Whole Nine Yards
Eat Dirt
Tie the Knot
Under the Weather


Don Hill (Image: Heiko Ryll)

    Don Hill

    Don Hill is the host of CKUA radio’s popular Expressions. His recording label Music Is Medicine is acclaimed for its 3D soundscapes of contemplative places in Canada.

    His current project to reshape the psychoacoustics associated with urban noise in Edmonton’s downtown core has attracted worldwide interest. Find our more about Don’s art habit here.