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Box and Cox

To play Box and Cox means to participate in an arrangement in which you and someone else take turns occupying the same space at different times. This British expression derives from Box and Cox (Bookshop|Amazon), an 1847 farce by John Maddison...

Apple Box and Other Movie-Making Terms

Apple box, full apple, half apple, and pancake are all moviemaking terms that refer to height gradations of boxes used for actors to stand on to appear taller. These bits of Hollywood jargon and much more are compiled in Richard Kroon’s A/V a...

Jockey Box, Glove Compartment

Barbara from Seattle, Washington, was surprised to hear a friend from Montana use the term jockey box to mean “glove compartment.” Heard in much of the Northwestern United States, jockey box is a relic of the days when the drivers of...

Billy Tape Measure

Mary says her Illinois-born husband and father-in-law refer to a measuring tape as a billy. The word billy is used in a slangy sense to refer long lengths of metal, such a billy knife, and a Billy Box is a kind of toolbox, but the use of billy to...

We’ve come a long way!

In 2007, the public media organization that created A Way with Words had a problem. They loved our show but a deep recession meant the station couldn’t afford to keep producing it. So they canceled it. That could have been the end of A Way...

We did it!

This year, we did what we set out to do. First, we made great radio. Second, we drew big crowds to support a literacy nonprofit in Dallas. We did it again to support community college scholarships in San Diego. Third, we read thousands of emails...