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Skipper for Team Captain

Omar in Wilmington, North Carolina, says that when he was growing up in Pakistan, he and fellow cricket players referred to their team captain as the skipper. The term skipper, or skip, originated in seafaring terminology and now applies to the...

Lay an Egg Origins and Meaning

Kieran in Huntsville, Alabama, wonders about the term laid an egg meaning performed badly. The expression to lay an egg goes back at least as far as cricket matches in the 1860s, where duck’s egg referred to a zero on a scoreboard. Later in...

Jeezum Pete and Related Expressions

Ellen in Hattiesburg, Mississippi, wonders about the origin of the exclamation jeezum pete! It’s a minced oath — that is, a way of avoiding saying “Jesus Christ!” most likely derived by combining it with St. Pete. There are dozens...

Not Quite Cricket

“Not quite cricket” means not proper, substandard, or perhaps even illegal. The phrase is a reference to the world’s second most popular sport, cricket, and derives from the 19th-century notion that the “Spirit of the...

Magazines for Kids

Grant and his son have been loving the magazines Click, Cricket, and Ladybug. The poems, stories, and pictures are fantastic, and you don’t get the sense that it’s didactic or trying to force any lessons or morals. If you’re fond...