Word Soup Wednesday

Welcome to another installment of Word Soup!

While the television show The Soup brings you “the strange, obscure and totally unbelievable moments in pop culture, celebrity news and reality TV,” Word Soup brings you those strange, obscure, unbelievable (and sometimes NSFW) words from talk shows, sitcoms, dramas, and just about anything else on TV.

break bad

Fogle: “If I ever break bad, I will keep that in mind.”

“Harlan Roulette,” Justified, January 31, 2012

Break bad is an American Southern colloquialism that means “to turn toward a life of crime or immoral activity,” as well as, according to The New Partridge Dictionary of Slang and Unconventional English by Tom Dalzell & Eric Partridge, “to act in a threatening, menacing manner.” Breaking Bad is a popular television show about a chemistry teacher who becomes a violent drug dealer.


Bobby Newport: “I don’t know why they call it a campaign, because up until now it’s been a cam-pleasure.”

“Campaign Ad,” Parks and Recreation, January 19, 2012

Cam-pleasure is a blend of cam from campaign and pleasure. Campaign comes from the Latin campania, “level country,” and originally meant “the operations of an army during one season, or in a definite enterprise.” Pleasure plays on –paign of campaign, a pun for pain, or the opposite of pleasure.

Thanks to Fritinancy for pointing this out.


Jon Stewart: “Romney has no idea who he’s dealing with. He can’t be a dick to Gingrich. He’s a master of dick-fu.”

The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, January 24, 2012

Dick-fu is a blend of dick and kung fu. One well-versed in dick-fu is awesome at being a dick, or “a person, especially a man, regarded as mean or contemptible.”


Bo: “Now for the million dollar question: What kind of Fae am I?”

“It’s a Fae, Fae, Fae, Fae World,” Lost Girl, September 12, 2010

Faes are mythical creatures that co-exist with humans. Some types of Fae include succubi, werewolves, Furies, and dullahans. The word Fae comes from faerie, an archaic spelling of fairy, which comes from the Latin fata, “the Fates,” which are “supernatural beings who controlled the destiny of men and of the gods.”


Eddie [to Nick]: “By the way, he’s Fuchsbau. So count your fingers after you shake hands.”

“Organ Grinder,” Grimm, February 3, 2012

A Fuchsbau is a fox-like creature that can assume human form. Fuchsbau translates from the German as “fox’s den.”


Timo: “I’m beginning to think what they say about you is true. That you’re only half-Romani. Your father wasn’t gypsy. Some people say that makes you gadje.”

“A Cinderella Story,” The Finder, January 26, 2012

A gadje or gadjo is “used as a disparaging term for one who is not Gypsy,” or Romani, “a nomadic people, with origins in India,” as well as the name of their language. Gadje is Romani in origin and may come from “the proto-Romani word for ‘peasant’ and has the same root as the Romani word ‘gav’ (a village).” The Romani ancestors were “nomadic musicians and craftspeople” and “did not live in villages.”

Galentine’s Day

Leslie: “February 14th, Valentine’s Day, is about romance. But February 13th, Galentine’s Day, is about celebrating lady friends.”

“Operation Ann,” Parks and Recreation, February 2, 2012

Galentine’s Day is a blend of gal (an alteration of girl) and Valentine’s Day (which is named for Valentinus, “the name of two early Italian saints”), and is a faux gender-centric holiday. See also Dudesgiving.


Eddie: “Maybe a little gallenblase. It’s fresh, isn’t it?”

“Organ Grinder,” Grimm, February 3, 2012

Gallenblase is German for gall bladder, and in this context refers to human gall bladder which non-human creatures use as an aphrodisiac.


Nick [reading]: “Geiers have an innate ability to move through trees, staying above their victims who walk beneath them, unaware. Geiers are the most vile of all. They harvest human organs while their victims are still alive, seeming to take pleasure in the savage pain they cause.”

“Organ Grinder,” Grimm, February 3, 2012

Geier translates from the German as “vulture.” While Geiers roost in trees much like vultures, they prey on the living while vultures primarily feed on carrion, “the dead and putrefying body or flesh of animals.”

get one’s ticket punched

Billy Gardell: “Twenty-two years on the road, and twenty-five with that three you gotta start and suck for three years. And then I got my ticket punched last year.”

Andy Richter: “Usually ‘ticket punched’ means you got murdered.”

Conan O’Brien: “Or success in the industry.”

The Conan O’Brien Show, January 20, 2012

To punch someone’s ticket means “to kill someone,” and is presumably based on the idea of a train conductor punching one’s ticket so that it cannot be used again. Thus, to get one’s ticket punched means to be killed. To punch someone’s ticket also means “to have sex with someone.”

go all Daniel Larusso

Santana: “You may look like the villain out of a cheesy high school movie, but you should know I am prepared to go all Daniel Larusso on your ass.”

“Michael,” Glee, January 31, 2012

Daniel Larusso refers to titular character in the film, The Karate Kid, in which a bullied teen learns martial arts and defeats the school villain. This is yet another instance of anthimeria, “the use of a word from one word class or part of speech as if it were from another,” especially “the use of a noun as if it were a verb.” See Krav Maga: “[Dr. Magnus] and her friend went all Krav Maga on my men.”


Nick [reading]: “After two days of waiting in Vienna, I confronted the Lausenschlange in a dark alley. . . .I sliced open his belly exposing the horrid contents of the missing children.”

“Of Mouse and Man,” Grimm, January 20, 2012

The Lausenschlange is a predatory snake-like creature that can take on human form. The word seems to come from the German laus, “louse, and schlange, “snake.” Snake is also slang for “a treacherous person.” The Lausenschlange in this episode is an attorney.


Eddie: “Let me tell you, what you don’t want to do is a leave a Lausenschlange alone with a Maushertz. That’s a recipe for dessert.”

“Of Mouse and Man,” Grimm, January 20, 2012

The Mausherz is a timid mouse-like creature that can take on human form, and when threatened, scurries to its “safe place.” Mausherz translates from the German as “mouse heart.” To be mousy means to be “quiet; timid; shy.” To be lion-hearted means to be “brave and magnanimous.”


Liz: “Now I’m heading home for a nooner, which is what I call having pancakes for lunch.”

“Idiots Are People Two,” 30 Rock, January 19, 2012

A nooner, according to Jonathan Cassell’s Dictionary of Slang, originally referred to “a midday alcoholic drink,” and in the 1970s came to mean “sexual intercourse, often adulterous, enjoyed at lunchtime.” Both meanings imply something illicit and forbidden, which to Liz means having a breakfast food for lunch.


Patient [to House]: “Sheldon’s a progressive. . .Progressives are reenactors who strive for complete authenticity. They never drop character while in uniform.”

“Runaways,” House, January 31, 2012

A progressive is a hard-core Civil War reenactor, who tries “to live, as much as possible, as someone of the 1860s might have.” The word progressive may come from the idea that these reenactors are always trying to progress “in their knowledge and other aspects of the mid-19th century.” The opposite of a progressive is a farb, which may come from the German word Farbe, “color,” with the idea that “inauthentic reenactors were over-colorful compared with the dull blues, greys or browns of the real Civil War uniforms.”


Beckett [to Castle]: “No rochambeau?”

Castle: “I think that would put you at an unfair advantage. I’m pretty good at it.”

“An Embarrassment of Bitches,” Castle, January 24, 2012

Rochambeau, also spelled roshambo, refers to the game Rock Paper Scissors. The name seems to come from a French count.

see the elephant

Civil War reenacter: “We swore that we would see the elephant together.”

“Runaways,” House, January 31, 2012

To see the elephant means to “be acquainted with life, gain knowledge by experience” and is an American colloquialism from 1835. The origin is obscure. One possibility comes from the idea that for “most Americans, the only chance to see exotic animals [like an elephant] was by” traveling circuses or menageries.


Fury: “I didn’t even know he was shucking around.”

Bo: “Shucking?”

Fury: “Having sex with a human.”

“Faetal Attraction,” Lost Girl, October 3, 2010

Shucking, like frak, is a constructed expletive, or a made-up curse word. The word shucking echoes the word fucking, but may also play on the idea of shucking an oyster or clam, implying that, to a Fae, a human is the equivalent of an invertebrate. To shuck also means “to cast off,” and as a noun, “something worthless.”

See our special all science fiction TV Word Soup for even more constructed expletives and slang.


Governor Mitch Daniels: “We do not accept that ours will ever be a nation of haves and have-nots. We must always be a nation of haves and soon-to-haves.”

John Hodgman: “We have-nows are creating an exclusive world of luxury and privilege for the soon-to-haves to have. . .soon.”

The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, February 2, 2012

The haves refer to “the wealthy or privileged,” while the have nots refer to “the poor or underprivileged.” According to the Online Etymology Dictionary, the earliest citation seems to be from 1742 in a translation of Don Quixote: “There are but two families in the world, as my grandmother used to say; ‘the Have’s and the Have-not’s,’ and she stuck to the former.”

The soon-to-have idea implies that it’s only a matter of time for the very poor to become wealthy or privileged, of which Jon Stewart says, “This soon-to-haves idea that 100% of the people will get to be in the 1% is mathematically impossible.”


Castle: “He was outside Kay’s place with the rest of the paparazzi.”

Esposito: “The guy’s a full-on stalkerazzi. Harrassment, tresspassing, even B&E.”

“An Embarrassment of Bitches,” Castle, January 24, 2012

Stalkerazzi is a blend of stalker and paparazzi, which is plural for paparazzo, “a freelance photographer who sells photographs of celebrities to the media, especially one who pursues celebrities and attempts to obtain candid photographs.” Stalk comes from the Old English –stealcian, “to move stealthily,” while paparazzo is named for Signor Paparazzo, a freelance photographer in in La Dolce Vita, a film by Federico Fellini.


Criss: “I don’t understand your relationship with Liz.”

Jack: “She’s my subordi-friend.”

“Idiots Are People Three,” 30 Rock, January 26, 2012

Subordi-friend is a blend of subordinate and friend. Other faux-friend words include frenemy, backfriend, fremesis, and bronemy.


Jenna: “Getting paid to help a boy become a man – it’s kinda my wheelhouse.”

“Today You Are a Man,” 30 Rock, February 2, 2012

Wheelhouse in this context is baseball slang for “a hitter’s power zone.” According to the Word Detective, this sense of the word has been in use since 1950s, and most likely comes from “the locomotive turntable ‘wheelhouse’ (often called a ’roundhouse’),” which likens “the awesome swing of the rail yard turntable to the batter’s powerful swing,” as well as “that sweeping side-arm pitches have been known as ’roundhouse’ pitches since about 1910.” See also Fritnancy’s post.

That’s it for this week! Remember, if you see any Word Soup-worthy words, let us know on Twitter with the hashtag #wordsoup. Your word and Twitter handle might appear right here!

One thought on “Word Soup Wednesday

  1. Your 2-8-12 word gadje had a wrong definition. Gadje or gadjo means non-Romani, and has no pejorative or bad connotation. It only means that the person is an outsider who does not understand Romani culture.

    Your example from The Finder is particularly offensive, though. The show uses nothing but gypsy stereotypes and racism, and if any other race were substituted in the dialog, there would be a media frenzy. For a better example for use of the term gadje, look to the work of Dr. Ian Hancock, the Romani scholar who has represented the Romani people in front of the U.N.

Comments are closed.