Word Soup Wednesday: Boom carpet, Iron Dome, waggle dance

Welcome to Word Soup Wednesday, in which we bring you our favorite strange, obscure, unbelievable (and sometimes NSFW) words from TV.

awesome sauce

Jon Stewart: “Right there [Broadwell was] talking about how thick a coat of awesome sauce Petraeus is bathed in – the thing never crossed my [expletive] mind!”

The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, November 12, 2012

Awesome sauce refers to something particularly awesome. The term seems to have originated around 2001 from the sketch comedy show, The Kids in the Hall.

boom carpet

Jon Hagstrum [regarding the Great Pigeon Race Disaster]: “It turns out they flew [the pigeons] across the English Channel just as the Concorde, which was leaving Paris, was going supersonic, and laying down a boom carpet that these pigeons were caught in.”

“What Are Animals Thinking” NOVA ScienceNOW, November 7, 2012

A boom carpet is the result of a sonic boom. An aircraft going supersonic fills out “a narrow path” – like a carpet  – “on the ground following the aircraft’s flight path.” According to NASA, “the width of the boom ‘carpet’ beneath the aircraft is about one mile for each 1000 feet of altitude.”


Teddy: “And now I’m fat.”
Bob: “You’re not that fat, Teddy.”
Teddy: “I’m wearing a guy girdle. It’s called a boydle.”

“The Deepening,” Bob’s Burgers, November 25, 2012

Boydle is a blend of boy and girdle, “an elasticized, flexible undergarment worn over the waist and hips, especially by women, to give the body a more slender appearance.” Boydle may also be a play on goidle, the pronunciation of girdle in a stereotypical Brooklyn accent.


Narrator: “Buffleheads are diving ducks, but this little female has spied something delicious beneath the surface. She’s not good at dabbling, but she can’t resist.”

“The Original DUCKumentary,” Nature, November 4, 2012

Dabbling is the act of “[bobbing] forward and under in shallow water so as to feed off the bottom.” Dabble comes from the Dutch dabben, “to strike, tap.”

high-frequency trading

Stephen Colbert: “In high-frequency trading, computers can move millions of shares around in minutes, earning a tenth of a penny off each share.”

The Colbert Report, November 14, 2012

High-frequency trading, or HFT, is “the use of sophisticated technological tools and computer algorithms to trade securities on a rapid basis,” and has taken place since 1999.

Iron Dome

Newscaster: “The Iron Dome, Israel’s homegrown defense shield. The system is designed to protect populated areas, allowing non-threatening short range missiles to drop into open fields or water, and intercepting those headed for cities.”

The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, November 26, 2012

The Iron Dome, also known as the Iron Cap, is a “mobile all-weather air defense system developed by Rafael Advanced Defense Systems,” a defense technology company in Israel. The iron curtain was “the military, political, and ideological barrier established between the Soviet bloc and western Europe from 1945 to 1990.”


Bob: “Linda, we’re being shanghaied!”
Linda: “Shanghai? Ooo, ancient Chinese vacation!”

“Mutiny on the Windbreaker,” Bob’s Burgers, November 11, 2012

To shanghai means “to kidnap (a man) for compulsory service aboard a ship, especially after drugging him,” or “to induce or compel (someone) to do something, especially by fraud or force.” The word is named for the Chinese city of Shanghai, “from the former custom of kidnapping sailors to man ships going to China.”


Anthony Bourdain: “Back in the day, if you had a bad headache or were acting weird or were just out of sorts, a popular treatment [called trepanning] involved popping your head open like a beer can and letting the pressure out. Fun, huh?”

“Chicago,” The Layover, November 19, 2012

Trepanning is “the operation of making, with a trepan, an opening in the skull for relieving the brain from compression or irritation.” A trepan is “an instrument, in the form of crown-saw, used by surgeons for removing parts of the bones of the skull.” The word ultimately comes from the Greek trūpē, “hole.”

waggle dance

Tom Seeley: “Each bee that finds something comes back and announces her discovery by performing these waggle dances.”

“What Are Animals Thinking” NOVA ScienceNOW, November 7, 2012

A waggle dance is “a dance in the form of figure eight performed by the honey bee in order to communicate the direction and distance of patches of flowers, water sources, etc.,” first discovered by Austrian ethologist Karl von Frisch.

According to the Oxford English Dictionary, waggle dance translates from the German schwänzeltanz, which appeared in a 1923 paper by von Frisch and translates literally as “tail wagging dance.”


Nick [reading]: “I came upon the cave of the wendigo, rife with human remains and the scene of many murders and cannibalistic acts.”

“To Protect and Serve Man,” Grimm, November 9, 2012

A wendigo, also windigo, is “a malevolent, violent, cannibal spirit found in Anishinaabe, Ojibwe, and Cree mythology, which inhabits the body of a living person and possesses him or her to commit murder.”