A caller from Long Beach, California, says hell for leather describes “a reckless abandonment of everything but the pursuit of speed.” But why hell for leather? The expression seems to have originated in the mid-19th century, referencing the wear and tear on the leather from a rough ride on horseback at breakneck speed. But similar early versions include hell falleero and hell faladery. There’s also hell for election, which can mean the same thing and appears to be a variation of hell-bent for election. This is part of a complete episode.
- Smile Belt 07/17/2017: The only time you'll ever see the sun's outer atmosphere is during a full solar eclipse, when sun itself is completely covered. That hazy ring... [more]
- A Shoo-in 07/10/2017: This week it’s butterflies, belly flowers, plot bunnies, foxes, and cuckoos. Also, writing advice from Mark Twain and a wonderful bit of prose from Sara... [more]
- Noon of Night 06/26/2017: As a kid, you may have played that game where you phone someone to say, "Is your refrigerator running? Then you better go catch it!"... [more]
- Boss of Me 06/17/2017: If you want to be a better writer, try skipping today's bestsellers, and read one from the 1930's instead. Or read something besides fiction in... [more]
- Sunny-Side Up 06/10/2017: Baseball has a language all its own: On the diamond, a snow cone isn't what you think it is, and three blind mice has nothing... [more]