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Get the Goody Out

Amelia in Arlington, Virginia, was surprised to hear her wife, who is from Iowa, use the phrase getting the goody out to describe someone sporting a well-worn pair of sweatpants, indicating that they were continuing to get the most out of that...

Stomach Steinway

Did you ever take lessons to play the stomach Steinway? You know, the accordion? That’s another bit of musicians’ slang sent in by a listener, along with the term bunhead, which means “a ballet dancer.” This is part of a...

No Better Than She Ought to Be

If a lady is no better than she ought to be, her sexual morals may be in question. The saying, recently popularized by the BBC program Downton Abbey, is what’s known as a charientism, or a bit of sugar-coated snark. By the way, if you’d...

Eating the Frog

Do you start each day by "eating the frog"? Don't answer too quickly -- maybe you do and don't know it. "Eat the frog" means to do the most distasteful thing first. Imagine you were lost in the jungle and all...

Guess What

English is full of unusual terms, both old (eleemosynary, favonian) and new (flyaway, catio). Also, the Swahili term that means “sleep like a log,” the multiple meanings of the word joint, cowpies and horse biscuits, what it means to...

Jockey Box

A bartender wonders about the origin of the term jockey box. In his world, a jockey box is a metal container for ice. However, in some parts of the western U.S., a jockey box is the glove compartment of a car, and much earlier, the term referred to...

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