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Do It Up Brown

The phrase do it up brown can have two very different meanings: to “do something to perfection,” as in something that is perfectly cooked, and “to swindle” someone or beat them at their own game — metaphorically leaving them...

“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...

Episode 1506

Oh, For Cute!

A stereotype is a preconceived notion about a person or group. Originally, though, the word stereotype referred to a printing device used to produce lots of identical copies. • The link between tiny mythical creatures called trolls and modern-day...

Around the Stump Expressions

Ann from Fort Worth, Texas, says her elderly aunt was talking disparagingly about two people who, in her words, wet around the same stump. This expression isn’t all that common, but it does appear in Sarah Bird’s 1999 novel Virgin of the...

“App” is Apt

Great Googly-Moogly, it's another newsletter from "A Way with Words"! In our latest archive episode: If a woman keeps her own name after marriage, is she "Ms." or "Mrs."? Also,"redd up," "out like...