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South African “Shot” Slang

Cory in Newark, Ohio, says that while in South Africa, he heard the exclamation shot! used in an empathetic way to mean “that’s so sweet!” or “bless your heart!” In South Africa, the word can be used to express...

Throw in the Towel

The phrase throw in the towel, meaning to give up, originated in the world of boxing. An earlier phrase from the same sport that carried the same metaphorical meaning is chuck in the sponge. This is part of a complete episode.

Stacking Greased BBs

A listener in Bonifay, Florida, says when she was young and asked her mother what she was doing, her mother would respond “I’m stacking greased bb’s with boxing gloves on.” This nonsensical phrase is part of a long tradition...

Cold Turkey Origins

When you quit something abruptly, you’re said to quit cold turkey. This expression’s origin is unknown although its earliest recording uses are from 19th-century boxing. This is part of a complete episode.

Ham-and-Egger

A ham-and-egger job, meaning a weak effort or a dud, comes from boxing, where a ham-and-egger fighter doesn’t have much fight in him, it’s just someone doing it to earn a meal. The idiom goes as far back as at least 1918, when it showed...