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Go Sit on a Tack!

Tricia in Chesapeake, Virginia, says if her father was annoyed with her mother, he used to jokingly tell her: Go sit on a tack! It’s another way of saying “Leave me alone!” Similar phrases include go fly a kite, go climb a tree, go...

JoJo Potato Wedges

When Melissa was growing up in Tacoma, Washington, she’d walk to the corner store, where she’d pick up a corn dog and a bag of jo jos, a term for soft potato wedges with the skin left on. Researcher Barry Popik has dug up a story that...

Keep Your Eye on the Donut

Carol from Falmouth, Massachusetts, is curious about this bit of wisdom from her father: As you travel through life, whatever your goal, keep your eye on the doughnut, and not on the hole. The Mayflower Coffee Shop chain, based in New Jersey and New...

The Big Apple

Why is New York City called the Big Apple? In the 1920s, a writer named John Fitz Gerald used it in a column about the horseracing scene, because racetrack workers in New Orleans would say that if a horse was successful down South, they’d send...

What’s Slang Jang? (minicast)

No, it’s not the neurological effect of spending too much time researching odd new terms. Slang jang is a tongue-tickling sauce found in East Texas. For more about slang jang, including recipes, check out etymologist Barry Popik’s site.