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Tonight! H2 presents “America’s Secret Slang”
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. The six episodes in Season 1 were: “Guns, Booze, and Politics,” focusing on common phrases during the Prohibition Era that related to politics, firearms and alcohol, such as pork barrel projects, slush funds, lame ducks, falling off the wagon, teetotaler, bootlegger, and skid row; “Them’s Fighting Words,” highlighting idioms popularized during periods of war, from the American Revolution to WWII, such as basket case, Yankee, bought the farm, sideburns, deadlines, and hookers; “Y’all Speak Country,” featuring slang of the American South, like y’all, rednecks, fly off the handle, having an axe to grind, and barking up the wrong tree; “Westword Ho!,” chronicling common expressions from the American frontier — riffraff, betting your bottom dollar, passing the buck, acid test, and heard it through the grapevine; “Coming to America,” documenting common sayings from immigrants; and “Talking Turkey.”