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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...

Like A Red-Headed Stepchild

Megan from Seal Beach, California, adores her red-headed daughter, but now that Megan’s remarried, she and her family are mulling the phrase I’m going to beat you like a red-headed stepchild. Other versions include a red-haired stepchild...

“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...

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...

To Beat the Band

“Beat the band,” as in, “it’s snowing to beat the band,” or “he’s dressed to beat the band,” is an idiom that’s mainly used as a positive intensifier. It evolved from “shouting to beat the...

Etymology of Catch My Fade

“Catch my fade,” meaning, “I’m going to beat you up,” takes from a 100-year-old usage of fade. To fade someone meant to punish, beat, or conquer another. This is part of a complete episode.