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What a Hotsy-Totsy Tchotchke

The word tchotchke, pronounced CHOTCH-kee, means “knickknack” or “trinket.” Also spelled chotchkie or tsatske, this word was borrowed into English from Yiddish tshatshke, and is cognate with several words that mean...

Buying Gingerbread Means Buying Ballots

In parts of Appalachia, if you’re buying gingerbread, you may not literally be buying a baked good. In Our Appalachia (Bookshop|Amazon), an oral history of the region, editors Laurel Shackelford and Bill Weinberg describe an old political...

Just the Kind of Hairpin I Am

Kathy from Wichita, Kansas, says her mother was a practical joker who’d laugh off her pranks by saying That’s just the kind of hairpin I am, which means “That’s just the way I am.” The phrase goes back at least to 1874...