A listener in Omaha, Nebraska, says that when he was being particularly inquisitive, his grandmother would exclaim, “You ask more questions than a Philadelphia lawyer!” This term for a particularly shrewd attorney goes all the way back to the late 18th century, and may be a reference either to Ben Franklin or the Philadelphia attorney Andrew Hamilton, who successfully defended German-American printer John Peter Zenger. This is part of a complete episode.
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- Train of Thought (episode #1516) 02/04/2019: Chances are you recognize the expressions Judgment Day and root of all evil as phrases from the Bible. There are many others, such as the... [more]
- Colonial English (episode #1515) 01/28/2019: The anatomy of effective prose, and the poetry of anatomy. Ever wonder what it'd be like to audit a class taught by a famous writer?... [more]
- Space Cadet (episode #1514) 12/24/2018: We have books for language-lovers and recommendations for history buffs. • How did the word boondoggle come to denote a wasteful project? The answer involves... [more]
- Howling Fantods (episode #1513) 12/17/2018: Are there words and phrases that you misunderstood for an embarrassingly long time? Maybe you thought that money laundering literally meant washing drug-laced dollar bills,... [more]