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Afghan Blanket Origins

Malia in San Diego is of Afghan descent, and wonders why crocheted blankets are referred to as afghans. There is a long, rich history of textile weaving in Afghanistan with repeated geometric designs, and the term afghan was probably borrowed to...

Go Pear-Shaped Origins

Wayne in Sherman, Texas, wonders how the term pear-shaped came to describe something that’s gone badly. The expression seems to have arisen during Falklands War of the early 1980s. If you need a word for pear-shaped, there’s always pyriform...

Go Do Do in Louisiana

A new arrival to Baton Rouge, Louisiana, is curious about a phrase used by her husband’s family: go do-do /DOH-doh/, for go to sleep. It’s from French dormir, to sleep. Grant recommends the Dictionary of Louisiana French: As Spoken in...

Cut a Chogi

To cut a chogi, also spelled choagy or chogie, is an English slang term meaning “Let’s get out of here.” It probably stems from Korean: cheogi or jeogi means “there” (it’s opposite, yeogi, means...

Diamond in the Rough

What’s the meaning of the phrase diamond in the rough? Does it refer to a rose among thorns, to unrealized potential? The phrase derives from the diamond industry, where a diamond in the rough is one taken from the ground but still unpolished...