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Episode 1539

Clever Clogs

Ribbon fall. Gallery forest. You won’t find terms like these in most dictionaries, but they and hundreds like them are discussed by famous writers in the book Home Ground: A Guide to the American Landscape. The book is an intriguing collection...

Three Sheets to the Wind

A wedding photographer says she happens to run into lots of people who are three sheets to the wind, and wonders why that term came to mean “falling-down drunk.” Turns out, it’s from nautical terminology. On a seagoing vessel, the...

Don’t Take Any Wooden Nickels

If you say to someone the Spanish equivalent of “you’re giving me green gray hairs” (me sacas canas verdes), it means that person is making you angry. In Japan, the phrase that literally translates as “one red dot”...

Scat, Tom!

“Scat, Tom! Get your tail out of the gravy!” In some parts of the country, especially the South, people say this after someone sneezes. But what does a cat warming its tail in the gravy boat have to do with sneezing? This is part of a...

cutting

cutting  n.— «To prepare for their performance in the jump event at the all-star tournament, Thees said the women are trying to improve their jump distances by practicing more challenging jump maneuvers. When the boat pulls a skier toward...

OTB

OTB  n.— « The OTB line of boots and topsiders uses footwear technology developed for high-performance boat shoes worn by U.S. Navy SEALs, according to OTB Footwear, of Scituate, Mass. OTB stands for “over the beach,” navy...