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Rank and File

Alex from Columbia, Missouri, wonders about rank and file, meaning “the members of the body of an organization as opposed to its leaders.” In 12th-century France, the words renc or ranc referred to a row of soldiers. The word file means...

Cut Me a Huss

Manuel in Fort Worth, Texas, wonders about a phrase he’s heard from his dad and brothers: Cut me a husk meaning “Give me a break.” The term evolved from slang used by U.S. Marines serving in Vietnam, and HUS, the configuration for...

Coast Guard Prank

A listener shares yet another prank played on newbies: One of the first things you learn in the Coast Guard is that rope is called line, not rope — a vocabulary lesson reinforced by officers who would send new recruits down below to fetch 100 feet...

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