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self-embedding

self-embedding  n.— «Health officials in Chicago are warning about a growing trend among teenagers who inflict pain on themselves by inserting foreign objects under their skin. The practice, called “self embedding,” is similar...

Etymology of Measure Fathom

“Full fathom five thy father lies…” When the Bard wrote these immortal words, he was talking about the word fathom as a measure of distance. But a Chicago caller can’t quite fathom the meaning of the verb “to fathom...

gun time

gun time  n.— «A similar issue arose at the Chicago Marathon two weeks ago, when Wesley Korir of Kenya finished fourth, despite starting five minutes after the elite runners. Like O’Connell, his time was clear because of the electronic...

Busboy

Why do we call the fellow clearing the dishes and silverware a busboy? A Chicago listener isn’t satisfied with the answer, “Because he’s bussing the table.” Grant reveals the terms likely Latin roots. This is part of a...

Give It the Old College Slang

If someone calls you dibby, should you be flattered or insulted? You’d know if you were in college a century ago—it’s outdated college slang! Also, we are voluntold to play a word puzzle about Unknown Superheroes!

Go Fly a Kite

“Go fly a kite!” A caller from Washington, D.C. wonders whose kite is getting flown and why. Naturally, we have some ideas! Here’s a copy of the cartoon Grant mentions (from the Chicago Tribune May 15, 1927, p. G2). This is part of...