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Skylarking, a Joyful Messing Around

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While vacationing on Costa Rica’s Caribbean coast, a listener encountered an Australian who used the term skylarking to mean “horsing around.” The verb to skylark goes back hundreds of years and once referred to racing through the rigging of a sailing ship in order to practice skills or just pass the time. The birds called larks have long been associated with joy and exuberance, not just because of their cheerful song but their zippy flight pattern. They’re associated with a lot of similes, such as happy as a lark, cheerful as a lark, merry as a lark, bright as a lark, fresh as a lark, and as a young lark. People who get up early are sometimes called larks, as opposed to night owls. Similarly, skylarking is about going for the gusto in life. This is part of a complete episode.

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