Things That Stick Out

“Stick out” is an interesting little expression.

It describes something that is easy to see, or is noticeable, because it comes out farther than the rest. For example, “He’s so tall that he sticks out in a crowd (large group of people).” Or, “His legs stick out when he’s working under his car.”

If you studied geography in school, you learned about the countries, oceans, rivers, mountains, cities, etc. of the world. And you probably learned about peninsulas, those “almost islands” that stick out into a large body of water. In the U.S., the state of Florida is a good example. Like a large finger, it sticks out of the larger part of the U.S. into the Gulf of Mexico and Atlantic Ocean.

If you had studied geography in the U.S., you might have studied something else that sticks out, called a panhandle (in other countries, they might be called a salient).

The word comes from the kitchen. Pans are what you cook food in. One pan – the frying pan that you might might use to cook eggs and bacon for breakfast – has a long narrow handle to use to pick it up.

In geography, a panhandle is a long narrow piece of land that sticks out from a larger area, like a state, into another. Ten U.S. states have panhandles, and some of them are well known.

The Alaska, Oklahoma, Florida, and Maryland (you need a larger map to see it) panhandles look like what you’d expect – long and narrow handles attached to one side of the state; Nebraska’s panhandle is where you’d expect it to be, but it’s short and fat. Idaho’s looks like a finger pointing up at Canada; the Texas panhandle is also at the top and, like Nebraska’s, it’s short and fat. West Virginia has two panhandles and Connecticut’s, at the bottom of the state, points at (to show with your finger) New York City.

Why talk about panhandles? Robert Reid recently wrote on the National Geographic website that some of the U.S. panhandles are interesting enough that people should think about visiting them. Here are his three favorites:

1. Alaska’s panhandle is already a popular place to visit. You can cruise (travel on a boat) among the islands along the panhandle to see snow-covered mountains, glaciers (large sheets of ice), small villages, and bears and other animals. You can visit Sitka, an old historic village or Juneau, Alaska’s capital.

2. When you think about Florida’s panhandle, think about 200 miles (320 km) of beautiful white-sand beaches along the Gulf of Mexico, sunshine, and . . . tourists.

3. I wrote about Nebraska’s sandhills in Where Buffalo Used To Roam. The Nebraska panhandle is mostly sandhills, but they are broken up (interrupted) by 800 foot (~240 m) high rocks that have been carved (cut into shape) by years of wind and rain. Early Americans traveled through this rough but beautiful area on their way to the West.

If you’d like to learn more about America’s panhandles, take a few minutes to look at Reid’s article on the National Geographic website.

~ Warren Ediger – ESL coach/tutor and creator of the Successful English website.

Map photo from National Geographic.



This entry was posted in Language & Terms, Life in the United States. Bookmark the permalink.

8 Responses to Things That Stick Out

  1. emiliano says:

    Cuca, my wife, knew some time ago the fifty USA states one after the other but what is even more difficult she could situated them on the USA map, all of these subjects inside her mind without watching the map.
    It was like an exercise she did to fell asleep without thinking on other subjects like her sickness.

    Every day a different subject, Olympics cities and the years when they took place, the Oscars and years, capitals of Asia, Africa or America, and so on.
    Each day of the month a different item, one night follows another opening the box inside her mind and taken which ever thing she like to take out and think over.

    Yes, I admired her the most and her way of catching nice dreams thinking on cultural subjects every night a different one.

    I tried to do the same like her, but I could not situated all of them but could write on a paper the fifty states after on hour or more.

    Now they gave her a pill to catch her sleep and have not enough time to think
    on these kind of subjects, just a pity.

    More or less listening the English cafes and watching so many movies I could
    identify several cities of EE.UU. as soon there is a photo on the screen or
    start a movie to play.
    May be my sight memory is really very good not so good in other different
    subjects as remembering people names, just the contrary of their faces
    or voices once I have seen one or listening a voice I could remember them for years.

    Different types of persons, you, Cuca, me and so forth.

    I am going to read and see Reid’s article on the National Geographic website, thanks Warren. emiliano

    Till soon. emiliano

  2. Peter says:

    Hey Emiliano
    You are too kind my friend
    In fact thabks to you that take the time to read my stuff

    Seeems like it is just you and me holding down the forth.

    We r I think the most senior members around here


  3. Peter says:

    I have always enjoyed eslpod
    I enjoy reading through Lucy ‘s dialogs
    They are very riveting and refreshing to me


  4. Peter says:

    Hey warren
    U say panhandle and it reminds me of the practice. 🙂
    Reminds me of buskers busking in the street.
    Well, here , u see people busking mostly on the subway for the lingering winter.


  5. Peter says:

    Hello world
    Over the past ,oh boy, 8/9 years that I have had the privelage to be a part of eslpod community, I have always treated eslpod blog not just a place to pick up writing skills and continue to hone them up.
    Well ,it ,sure, is a part of The reason i tried to partake in weekly blog forum. But that is not all there is to it.
    I have never viewed blog posts as outlet merely tailors to give us a sense of writing,but have alwayes seen every single post as small pockets of knoweledge , facts , trivias ,and above all culture.
    That is how I get a kick out of blog posts.
    Take the warren’s post at hand , in what plain of existence ,I could have stummble on such a term ” panhandle ”
    The expression
    “Four letter word ”
    Every week a new packet of knowledge

    My dear compatriots ,
    My dear citizen of eslpod
    I know ,you are out there somewhere in this big rock we call home reading these lines,study the posts. Don’t be shy.join us
    Share ur thoughts
    Share ur experience
    Share u likes and dislikes with us
    Let us know what your take is on the post at hand

    Don’t be shy
    We are not here to judge
    We are all here to learn

    Pick up ur pen


  6. emiliano says:

    Yes Peter, what you have written it is just the true and I am sure there is a lot
    of people reading you or me but the don´t try to write something.
    Just something to think about, they are shy, they think it is too difficult, what could
    be the gist of the subject?
    No body knows, but it is sure the senior you and me are here till the end.

    Congrat. Peter, you are a senior by all means. emiliano

  7. emiliano says:

    Tania where are you my friend?
    I just miss you a lot

    May you read us?
    Please, tell us something I am really very worried.


  8. Peter says:

    Hey Emiliano

    Thanks fir backing me up


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