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Episode 1586

Mittens in Moonlight

Need a slang term that can replace just about any noun? Try chumpie. If you’re from Philadelphia, you may already know this handy placeholder word. And there’s Queens, Brooklyn, Staten Island, Manhattan, and … The Bronx — why do we add...

Episode 1581

Your Imaginary Boyfriend

We use the term Milky Way for that glowing arc across the sky. But how people picture it varies from culture to culture. In Sweden, that starry band goes by a name that means “Winter Street,” and in Hawaii, a term for the Milky Way...

Looks Like They Stepped Out Of A Bandbox

Susan from Cocker City, Kansas, says her mother used to describe someone who appeared impeccably dressed with the phrase She looked like she stepped out of a bandbox. In the 17th century, the word band could denote a garment collar, sometimes...

Names for the Milky Way

Look up into the night sky, and imagine that you’ve never heard the term Milky Way. What would you call that glowing band of stars across the heavens? In Sweden, it’s called Vintergatan, or “Winter Street.” In Hawaii, the...

Devil Strip

Terry, a native of Akron, Ohio, is curious why it seems no one outside of his hometown uses the term devil strip to mean “the narrow band of grass between sidewalk and street.” Devil strip was formerly used this way in a few other...

“Beat the Band” Meaning and Origin

Whitney from Memphis, Tennessee, is curious about the origin of the phrase to beat the band, which describes something happening in forceful or energetic way. Although the origins of this Americanism are murky, it may refer to a time when every...