If you’ve accomplished something, go ahead and rest on your laurels. Martha traces this idiom back to Ancient Greece, where victors were crowned with a wreath of bay leaves from the bay laurel tree. In the 16th Century, to retire on one’s laurels referred to “resting after an accomplishment.” Like many inherited idioms, it’s often said today with a tongue in one’s cheek. This is part of a complete episode.
- Goody Two-Shoes (episode #1543) 02/24/2020: She sells seashells by the seashore. Who is the she in this tongue twister? Some claim it's the young Mary Anning, who went on to... [more]
- Baby Blues (episode #1542) 02/10/2020: A hundred years ago, suffragists lobbied to win women the right to vote. Linguistically speaking, though, suffrage isn't about "suffering." It's from a Latin word... [more]
- Walkie Talkie (episode #1541) 01/27/2020: One of the most powerful words you'll ever hear — and one of the most poignant — isn't in dictionaries yet. But it probably will... [more]
- Tiger Tail (episode #1540) 01/20/2020: You may have a favorite word in English, but what about your favorite in another language? The Spanish term ojalá is especially handy for expressing... [more]
- Clever Clogs (episode #1539) 12/23/2019: Ribbon fall. Gallery forest. You won't find terms like these in most dictionaries, but they and hundreds like them are discussed by famous writers in... [more]