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Beefed It (episode #1580)

The words tough, through, and dough all end in O-U-G-H. So why don’t they rhyme? A lively new book addresses the many quirks of English by explaining the history of words and phrases. And: have you ever been in a situation where a group makes...

Counting Out Words for Approximate Seconds

Jim in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, says that during childhood games of touch football, he and his friends would count out the required three seconds before rushing as Mississippi one, Mississippi two, Mississippi three. Other ways of counting...

Counting Coup

Counting coup refers to a tradition among the Plains Indians of North America of winning prestige and showing dominance by edging close enough to an enemy to strike him without dealing a deathblow. This is part of a complete episode.

Counting Time with One Mississippi

A Seattle, Washington, listener wants to know why, when marking time, we say “one Mississippi, two Mississippi,” as opposed to other states or rivers. In the United Kingdom, they’re more likely to say hippopotamus. Some people...

Shake a Stick At

Where do we get the expression more than you can shake a stick at? It probably just derives from counting. Imagine herdsmen bringing in their cattle or sheep at the end of the day, pointing with a stick in order to do a headcount. This is part of a...

demoflush

demoflush  n.— «It was at that time the resort bought into a method using wastewater flows to track visitors. The method known as demoflush, a weighted average of sewage generation per visitor, helped estimate the number of people in town...

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