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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...

Surcy, Sursee, A Small Gift

Matthew from Columbia, South Carolina, is curious about the word sirsee, a small gift or knickknack. Scattered through much of the American South, this colloquial term is sometimes spelled as surcy, or any of several other variations. The word may...

Scooter Poot and Scooter Toot

Logan in Wilmington, North Carolina, says he and his friends have long used scooter-pooting to mean “going around having a good time.” Both scooter-pooting and scooter-tooting are colloquial terms for casual socializing, and are...

Episode 1549

Navel-Gazing

In 1971, when a new public library opened in Troy, Michigan, famous authors and artists were invited to write letters to the city’s youngest readers, extolling the many benefits of libraries. One of the loveliest was from E.B. White, author of...

Light a Shuck

Light a shuck means “to skedaddle” or “leave quickly,” and is often found in cowboy literature. It’s a reference to moving quickly while using a burning corn shuck to light one’s way, and may also be influenced by...

Shoelace Express

Sarah in Fairbanks, Alaska, has a term to add to our discussion about colloquial terms for traveling on foot, like shank’s mare, chevrolegs, and getting a ride with Pat and Charlie: taking the shoelace express. This is part of a complete...