Catch Word #140 – That’s so sketchy

Here’s an episode all about bad and uncomfortable feelings. Have you ever been around a person who you didn’t trust? Or maybe you entered a building and for some reason you didn’t feel safe. It can be hard to describe what makes something seem sketchy, dodgy, or shady, but we know it when we feel it! Check out this episode, we promise it’s safe and you can trust our explanations.


Expressions included in the learning materialssketchy

  • A paper route
  • On a whim
  • Sketchy
  • To beat someone up
  • To make it home
  • To cancel on someone
  • A knight in shining armour
  • Dodgy
  • Not to have that type of money
  • A second opinion
  • To take someone at their word
  • Shady
  • Underage
  • To break out
  • To trust your gut

Sample transcript

Maura:            All right. Now, let’s get to the first expression today. And the first expression is sketchy.

Andrew:         Yeah, sketchy.

Maura:            Mmhmm. So, something or a person or a place could be called sketchy.

Andrew:         Absolutely. And this is something that’s just not clear. This place, or this person, this thing, you just have a sort of strange feeling towards it. You can’t trust it completely.

Maura:            Right. This might be a time when you don’t feel safe around a certain person or in a certain place. It’s just a bad feeling, kind of like an instinct.

Andrew:         Yeah. It’s almost like, if you’re describing a sketchy person, that you think that maybe that person doesn’t have a good intention; they’re gonna do something bad towards you.

Maura:            So sketchy can also be used to describe a place. And when I think of a sketchy place, I think of dark streets with buildings that have broken windows and people walking around who maybe look a little bit dangerous. That’s how I would describe a sketchy place.

Andrew:         Yeah. Maybe a part of town that has a bad reputation. Maybe there’s a little bit of crime there, or something is dirty, or something is just not right with this part of town, and when you go there you’re a little bit concerned for your safety. Maybe you’ve heard the word sketch before. And what a sketch is, it’s a very simple drawing, it doesn’t have very many details, it’s very simple. And the words sketch and sketchy, are related because sketchy is a situation or a person or a thing that you don’t know all the details about. There’s some element of it that’s unknown. And, yeah, that’s where the link between sketch and sketchy is.

Maura:            Right. When something is sketchy, you don’t know everything about it, it’s unclear. And a sketch is usually not very clear either. It’s not finished. So there is a connection.

Andrew:         Yeah.

Maura:            OK. Now let’s give a couple examples with sketchy.

Maura:            Hello?

Andrew:         Hey, it’s me. I just wanted to call and make sure that you made it home OK.

Maura:            Yeah, yeah, I just got home, like, 5 or 10 minutes ago. I know, I shouldn’t walk home that way. It’s such a sketchy area of town, but it’s so much shorter.

Andrew:         Yeah, well, I just wanted to call and make sure that you were OK, because last night on the news I saw that there was somebody that got beat up in that neighbourhood and I just wanted to make sure that didn’t happen to you too.

Maura:            You know, I should be more cautious. Maybe next time I’ll just stick to the main street.

Andrew:         Yeah, or take a taxi or something.

Maura:            So in that example, we had two friends. One friend called the other friend to make sure that she got home all right because she walked through a sketchy part of town.

Andrew:         Yeah. So we just had two friends talking on the phone. One friend was concerned about his other friend’s safety, and so he wanted to call her to make sure that she made it home safe because she was walking through a sketchy part of town on her way back home.

Maura:            And you know, dangerous parts of any city get even sketchier at night.

Andrew:         Yeah, always. Night times are the sketchiest times.

english PodcastAudio/Learning Materials: Culips