A listener in Carmel, New York, remembers his father’s phrase knuckle down, screw bony tight, a challenge called out to someone particularly adept at playing marbles. The game of marbles, once wildly popular in the United States, is a rich source of slang, including the phrase playing for keeps. This is part of a complete episode.
- 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]
- Naked as a Jaybird 06/05/2017: What's the best way for someone busy to learn lots of new words quickly for a test like the GRE? Looking up their origins can... [more]
- Hot Dog, Cold Turkey 05/29/2017: Why do we call a frankfurter a hot dog? It seems an unsettling 19th-century rumor is to blame. Also, if someone quits something abruptly, why... [more]