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Biffy Outhouse Origin

A Tuscon, Arizona, listener is right to be skeptical when someone suggests to her that the term biffy, meaning “portable toilet,” is an acronym for Bathroom in Forest for You. The etymology of biffy has eluded researchers for years...

Fly off the Handle

A listener in Quebec, Canada, wonders about the origin of to fly off the handle, meaning “to lose control.” It refers to the image of the head of an axe becoming loose and flying through the air. This is part of a complete episode.

Pitched Battle vs. Pitch Battle

Is it a pitched battle or a pitch battle? Originally, a pitched battle was conducted according to traditional rules of warfare, which called for combat in a prearranged time and place. The pitch in this term has to do with positioning, in much the...