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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 You’d know if you were in college a century ago—it’s outdated college slang!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...

trapper

trapper  n.— «Towne said women—also known as trappers—brought in packaged and unpackaged drugs from the Chicago area by hiding the substances on their bodies. The trappers then gave the drugs to the dealers to sell. By this means, drugs...

break late

break late  v. phr.— «In Illinois, at least, large numbers of black voters tend to take their time making up their minds. In political parlance, they “break late.”» —“Why Obama will surprise national political...

lock box

lock box  n.—Gloss: a government account or fund which is protected from reappropriation to other government programs. «The current casinos bill under consideration puts about $300 million in an account, which legislators refer to as a...

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