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Abilene Paradox

Ever been in a situation where a group makes a decision to do something, then later finds out that no one really wanted to do that thing in the first place, but everyone went along with it rather than rock the boat? There’s a term for that...

Lean on Your Own Dinner

Sam from Abilene, Texas, wonders about the phrase lean on your own dinner, which can be used literally to mean “support your own weight rather than leaning against me,” or metaphorically, as in suggesting someone refrain from asking...

Car Blinkers

After we puzzled over a caller’s use of the term Jack Roses to signal a sudden shift in conversational topics, Christye from Abilene, Texas, wrote to say that when that happens to her, she says, You didn’t put your blinker on! The word...

That Smarts!

A listener in Abilene, Texas, wonders about the expression that smarts! The verb to smart, meaning to sting or cause sharp pain, goes back more than a thousand years. The adjective smart, meaning intelligent, evolved from that sense of something...

Dolly vs. Trolley

A listener from Abilene, Texas, recounts the incredulous reaction he got when he was in England and asked some burly fellows for a dolly, meaning a wheeled conveyance for moving heavy loads. He asked for a two-wheeler, then a hand truck, and finally...