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11 Obscure Regional Phrases That Describe Excessive Heat

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The way this summer is going, you'll soon run out of ways to say, "It's ridiculously hot." Lucky for us, we have a direct line to Joan H. Hall, editor of the Dictionary of American Regional English. Here are 11 phrases you can fall back on next time someone asks what the weather is like.

1. Hotter Than Dutch Love in Harvest (Wisconsin/New York)

2. Hotter Than Hell's Back Kitchen (Vermont)

3. Training Grounds for Down Below (Macon, GA)

4. Hot Enough to Roast a Lizard (Peak, SC)

5. Awful Selsery (Kaskaskia, IL)

6. The Bear Got Him ("the bear" is heatstroke; South Carolina)

7. She Sure is A-Beamin' (Silver City, NM)

8. Hot Enough to Melt Clabber (no location given)

9. It's a Torcher (Bayfield, WI)

10. Full of Moist (no location given)

11. Hot as a Half-F**ed Fox in a Forest Fire (Scottsburg, VA)

That last one should certainly spice up any mundane chat about the heat index. (Where available, I've added where DARE researchers encountered the phrase. This does not mean everyone in Scottsburg uses those words on a hot day.)

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How New Words Become Mainstream
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If you used the words jeggings, muggle, or binge-watch in a sentence 30 years ago, you would have likely been met with stares of confusion. But today these words are common enough to hold spots in the Oxford English Dictionary. Such lingo is a sign that English, as well as any other modern language, is constantly evolving. But the path a word takes to enter the general lexicon isn’t always a straightforward one.

In the video below, TED-Ed lays out how some new words become part of our everyday speech while others fade into obscurity. Some words used by English speakers are borrowed from other languages, like mosquito (Spanish), avatar (Sanskrit), and prairie (French). Other “new” words are actually old ones that have developed different meanings over time. Nice, for example, used to only mean silly, foolish, or ignorant, and meat was used as blanket term to describe any solid food given to livestock.

The internet alone is responsible for a whole new section of our vocabulary, but even the words most exclusive to the web aren’t always original. For instance, the word meme was first used by Richard Dawkins in his 1976 book The Selfish Gene.

To learn more about the true origins of the words we use on a regular basis, check out the full story from TED-Ed below.

[h/t TED-Ed]

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Why You Should Drop 'Kind of' and 'Sort of' From Your Vocabulary
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How many times have you heard something like this before: “I sort of agree” or “I just kind of wish you had asked me before making that decision.” People tend to couch phrases in qualifying language to protect someone else’s feelings or to protect themselves when they say something that’s potentially inaccurate or makes them feel vulnerable. But no matter how safe and comfortable those words make you feel, they only end up confusing your listeners and hurting your reputation.

Fast Company includes “kind of” and “sort of” on their list of expressions that make you sound like you have no idea what you’re talking about. When you preface a sentence with those words, you’re immediately letting your audience know that they shouldn’t fully trust whatever comes next. Not only does this discredit you as a leader or a confidant, it obscures any feedback or request you were hoping to convey.

“Sort of” and “kind of” aren’t the only crutches insecure speakers love to lean on. Other offenders on Fast Company’s list include “maybe,” “possibly,” “potentially,” and “I’m not sure, but … ”

If qualifiers make poor security blankets, what strategies should speakers use to communicate with confidence? One way is to replace filler words and passive past-tense language with strong action verbs. That way your message will come across clearly and better persuade whomever you're speaking to. If the thought of talking this way terrifies you, try some preemptive confidence exercises before going into your next big meeting or confronting a friend or partner. Working out, practicing power poses, and even checking your own Facebook wall are all ways you can boost your self-image in a pinch.

[h/t Fast Company]

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