High-grading, or stealing choice bits of something, is mentioned in a book by David G. Rasmussen called The Man Who Moiled For Gold. Moil itself is an interesting term, meaning “to become wet and muddy from work.” It comes from the Latin word mollis, meaning “soft,” which is also the source of our word mollify. This is part of a complete episode.

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  1. I just listed to the podcast where you mentioned “moiling.” I first heard the word when I was in high school. My dad introduced me to Robert Service’s poem “The Cremation of Sam McGee.” It starts:
    “There are strange things done in the midnight sun
    By the men who moil for gold; …”

    You can even hear Scott Simon and Daniel Pinkwater read it on NPR here:

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