Host Zach Selwyn hits the streets to ask everyday people what they know about the origins and meaning of American slang, and then he reveals the true etymology and hidden history of common phrases and words that are unique to the United States.
In each 30-minute episode, Selwyn focuses on a specific period in American history, revealing words the originated during that era or had significance for the geographic region. (Source: H2 TV)
In this episode, we look at the ways that American English has been transformed by the Vikings, the Cold War, computers, music, gambling, and the different meaning we give to the colors of the rainbow. Why is a "red letter day" good, but being "in the red" is bad? Why do we "boot up" a computer? What's a "jackpot" and why do we "hit" it? Did the term "Cold War" really begin in the Middle Ages? And what's the original meaning of the Viking word "thing"? All these terms show the ways that American English has been invigorated by crises from Viking invasions to the threat of nuclear war, and inspired by the colors we see, the music hear...and the money we lose in bets.