Code Switch: Word Watch Each week, we take a look at a word or phrase that's caught our attention, whether for its history, usage, etymology, or just because it has an interesting story. This week, we look into how we came to call cannabis "marijuana," and the role Mexico played in that shift.
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Code Switch: Word Watch

The arrival of Commodore Matthew C. Perry's "black ships" in Tokyo Bay in 1853 helped persuade the Japanese to negotiate a treaty. Perry had more firepower than all the coastal artillery defending Tokyo Bay. AP hide caption

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AP

The "boondocks" or "boonies" refers to places that are in the middle of nowhere. But few people know that the phrase was made mainstream by a fatal military training accident. iStockphoto.com hide caption

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iStockphoto.com