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Rock Scissors Paper

Does the thought of going without your cellphone fill you with separation anxiety? Grant and Martha coin some monikers for this modern-day phobia. Also, what’s the best way to win at the game of rock, paper, scissors? Where might you fry eggs...

Spider Skillet

Why are skillets also called spiders? Some of the three-legged, long-handled pans used for frying actually resemble spiders. This is part of a complete episode.

When in Rome, Do as the Romans Do

When in Rome, do as the Romans do. But wait, what did the Romans do, anyway, and where does that phrase come from? It pops up at least as early as the late 4th century in St. Augustine’s writings, when he moved from Rome to Milan and inquired...

Chiasmus and Antimetabole

Chiasumus, also known as antimetabole, is a somewhat symmetrical expression like John F. Kennedy’s famous “Ask not what your country can do for you”“ask what you can do for your country,” or “Never let a fool kiss you or a...

Tear the Rag Off the Bush

The Southern idiom tear the rag off the bush has been used when scandalous relationships are revealed, but it’s also applicable to anything surprising. It’s similar to “Don’t that beat all?” and “Doesn’t...

Jonesing Origin

Where does the phrase jonesing for come from? Heroin addicts first introduced the expression in the early 1960s, but like many bits of slang, it soon left its original subculture and entered the mainstream vernacular. There’s no evidence to...