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Crazy as a Betsy Bug or Bedbug

Jane in Tippecanoe, Indiana, was intrigued by a phrase she encountered while reading Kinky Friedman’s Armadillos and Old Lace. (Bookshop|Amazon). She remembers hearing the phrase crazy as a bedbug, and wonders about Friedman’s use of the...

Episode 1537

Bug in Your Ear

Is there something inherent in English that makes it the linguistic equivalent of the Borg, dominating and consuming other languages in its path? No, not at all. The answer lies with politics and conquest rather than language itself. Plus: a new...

Put a Bug in One’s Ear

Jamie from Calais, Vermont, says an unfortunate experience with an insect made her wonder about the expression to put a bug in your ear or put a bug in one’s ear, meaning “to make a strong, insistent suggestion to someone.” An...

Crazy as a Betsy Bug

Cecily from Indianapolis, Indiana, recalls her North Carolina-born grandmother would describe someone doing something stupid as being crazy as a betsy bug. The phrase alludes to the horned beetle, also known as the patent-leather beetle, a large...

Like a Duck on a June Bug

Welcome to another newsletter from "A Way with Words"! In our latest episode, we talked about bird names, "like a duck on a June bug," overuse of the word "like," the expression of disbelief "Good night, nurse...

Road Trip!

In this episode, a listener says his friend Harold likes to do social phoning while driving, so he’s invented a term for mindless calling while in the car. And no, it’s not “car-pe diem.” Also, Martha and Grant also discuss...