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First of May, Donnicker, and Other Circus Lingo

Michelle from Valdosta, Georgia, says that in 1976, when she started out as a circus performer, she was referred to as a first of May, circus lingo that means “a newbie.” Throughout her two decades traveling with the circus, she and her...

Bike Shop Slang

Lesley Tweedie from Chicago, Illinois, owns a bike shop, and shares some slang from her workplace. A boomerang bike is one of those bikes that goes out the door and comes back 20 minutes later for another repair. JRA refers to those instances when...

Johnny on the Spot

Does johnny-on-the-spot refer to a person or a porta-potty? Or both? The term johnny-on-the-spot, meaning a fellow who helpfully shows up at just the right instant, dates to the 1870s. But in the early 1900s, the john became a common euphemism for...

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