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Celebrating Fathers!

On the third Sunday in June, Americans take time to recognize and thank a special person in the family fathers! Father's Day celebrates the importance of fathers, young and old, and the men thought of as father figures. Like father, like son is probably the most common father expression. It means a boy is very much like his father, and sons often do what their fathers did before them. This can be a good thing or a bad thing.

  


OK, Okay, Okey- Dokey Are A-Okay

Millions of people all over the world use the word okay. In fact, some peoplesay the word is used more often than any other word in the world. It may be common, but no one can seem to agree on how the OK came to be. Faith Lapidus tells us more. Okay means all right or acceptable. It expresses agreement or approval. You might ask your brother, Is it okay if I borrow your car? Or if someone asks you to do something, you might say, Okay, I

  


Mortgage and Other 'Death' Words

Part of the American Dream is to own a home. Many Americans borrow money when they buy a home. They use a mortgage loan, known simply as a mortgage, to help pay for the property. To get the money, the buyer signs an agreement with a bank or loan company. The borrower promises to pay back the money, plus interest, over a period of years. The word mortgage comes from two Old French words. Mort means dead and gage means to promise or pledge. Combine the two terms and you get death pledge. Perhaps this deadly sounding name is why many people are afraid to buy a house, and choose to rent one instead. Because of the words French roots, we do not pronounce the letter t in mortgage.

  


Improve Your English with Latin!

Many people say not enough Americans speak a foreign language. A contrario! (On the contrary!) Americans use many Latin phrases, sometimes without even knowing it. The fields of law and medicine are filled with Latin words. But people also use Latin words and phrases in everyday, spoken English. One common Latin word is per se. Per se is used to show that something is considered by itself, alone and not along with other things. For example, lets say your boyfriend watches soccer every night at his friends house. You could tell him that its not his watching soccer that bothers you, per se. Its the fact that you never see him!

  


More Latin for Your English!

Today we continue our discussion of common Latin words and expressions in American English. This is not an impromptu discussion. We have been planning it for weeks. In contrast, impromptu means you do something without preparing ahead of time. Heres another example. Lets say you recently graduated from college and moved to New York City for your first job. Then one day you run into a group of your college friends in Times Square. You and your friends have an impromptu reunion. You didnt plan it. It just happened.

  


Are you too Smart for Your Own ood?

If someone says you are smart, what do you they mean? Is it a good thing or something bad? The answer is not as easy as you might think. This is because the word smart has many meanings. For example, someone could say you look smart or are dressed smartly. That means they like what you are wearing and your physical appearance. To use a slang expression, they could say, You look really cool!

  


Lets Play the Brain Game

We all know what a brain is. A doctor will tell you that the brain is the organ of the body in the head. It controls our bodys functions, movements, sensations, emotions and thoughts. But a brain can mean so much more. A brain can also simply be a smart person. If a person is called brainy, she is smart and intelligent. If a family has many children but one of them is super smart, you could say, Shes the brains in the family. And if you are the brains behind something you are responsible for developing or organizing something. For example, Bill Gates is the brains behind Microsoft.

  


Besties, Buds, BFFs ... Friends!

Language changes over time. Many words and expressions have changed over the centuries. But the word friend has stayed the same. It is a rare example in the English language. The meaning and usage of friend has stayed unchanged for hundreds of years. Well, that is until 2005. That was when the social website Facebook started using the word as a verb. Now, you can friend someone or unfriend them, as the case may be. However, be advised, using friend as a verb only works when talking about Facebook. Of course, that may change some day too.

  


Weasel, Duck, Dog: Animals That Are Also Verbs

A few months ago, I told Anna Matteo I would write a Words and Their Stories program about animals that are also verbs. But I failed to keep my promise. Instead of accepting responsibility, I told her I was too busy. And that I could not think of enough words. And that somebody else might want to write the program instead. In other words, I tried to weasel out of it. A weasel is a small, brown mammal with a long body and short legs. It has a face a little like a mouse. A weasel does not appear very threatening; however, weasels can kill and eat animals four times their size.

  


Evil Expressions

In an earlier program, we talked a lot about the Devil. In many religions, the Devil is the most powerful spirit of evil. Religious leaders teach that hell is where the Devil lives. They also say hell is the place where bad people go after they die. You can hear many Americans using the words Devil and hell in everyday expressions. But the list of expressions is just too long for one show. So, get ready for the sequel -- what were calling Part 2: Hell, the Devils Hangout!

  


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