Catch Word #180 – I’m just spitballing here

When you have a problem that needs solving, sometimes you have to toss a few ideas around in order to get the ball rolling and figure out how to solve it. In today’s Catch Word episode, Andrew and Morag explain two expressions that will help you talk about generating and evaluating ideas: to spitball and to toss an idea around.

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Expressions included in the learning materials

  • To spitball
  • To toss an idea around
  • A shot in the dark
  • To get the ball rolling
  • To brainstorm

Sample transcript

Andrew:           Hey, Morag. How’s it goin’ with you?

Morag:              Hmm, pretty well, Andrew. How about you?

Andrew:           I’m doing OK.

Morag:              Oh.

Andrew:           But I just finished eating some really spicy noodles, and my mouth is on fire. So I hope I’m not sniffling too much into the microphone during this episode.

Morag:              Hmm, I … Should be fine. Although I’m really jealous of those spicy noodles. I have not eaten anything yet.

Andrew:           Well, I recommend spicy noodles for breakfast or lunch or dinner. Always delicious.

Morag:              Mmm.

Andrew:           Well, I think we should jump right into today’s episode. We are going to do a Catch Word episode. And this is where we introduce, define, explain, and teach you how to use a couple of related English idioms or expressions. And today our expressions are related to brainstorming. OK, these are expressions you can use when you’re trying to think of ideas or judge how good an idea is. And, Morag, maybe you could just quickly touch on this expression, brainstorming. Because I really like this expression, brainstorming. What does brainstorming mean?

Morag:              Brainstorming means just coming up with as many ideas and possibilities as you can. So just to generate as many ideas as possible. And then when you have that metaphorical storm of ideas, all this stuff that you’ve created with your brain, then you can look at it and sort of see what’s best. But brainstorming is the activity of generating all those ideas.

Andrew:           Hmm, perfect. Yeah, you’re generating ideas. I like that. So the two expressions we’ll look at today are related to brainstorming. Just before we get started, I wanna let everybody know that the transcript and learning materials for this episode, as well as every other Culips episode, they are available to download on our website for all Culips members.

Morag:              Using the learning materials is definitely the best way to study with Culips, so head on over to and learn about becoming a member.

Andrew:           Today’s first expression is a verb, and it is to spitball, to spitball.

Morag:              To spitball, to spitball.

Andrew:           Yeah, spitball. S-p-i-t-b-a-l-l. Ugh, spitballs are kinda gross, aren’t they?

Morag:              This is a bit of a gross one, yeah.

Andrew:           Yeah, if you stop to think about it. Because a spitball reminds me of high school, actually. Because what a spitball is, is you take a little piece of paper and you roll it into a ball. And then you put the piece of paper into your mouth to get it covered in spit. And then you stick that into a straw, and you can shoot the ball, right? This is a spitball. But today our expression is a little bit different because we are talking about the verb, to spitball. So when you spitball, you try to think of good ideas to a problem. Maybe you are in a meeting with other people, and you just put out every idea that comes into your head. You’re spitballing. You’re sharing as many ideas as possible, just to see if any good ones are thought of.

For a complete transcript, click:

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english PodcastAudio/Learning Materials: Culips