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Take a Licking and Get Your Licks in

Paul in Camden, Maine, has adopted a new pup, and the dog’s exuberant face-licking has Paul wondering about the many meanings of the word lick, which include getting his licks in and takes a licking, which refers to the act of forcefully...

Let’s Go Twocking and Joyriding

In Britain, the word twoc means “car theft,” and to go twocking means “to go joyriding in a stolen car.” It’s police slang derived from the acronym for the phrase Taking Without Owner’s Consent or TWOC. This is...

Black-Hearted Buzzard

Patricia in Midland, Georgia, says her mother always used the phrase black-hearted buzzard to denote someone who was evil or otherwise up to no good. Do other people use that expression? This is part of a complete episode.

Thunderous Epiphanies

On Twitter, columnist Shannon Proudfoot asks: What’s the most mundane but thunderous epiphany you ever had? Something so ridiculously dull or elementary that still bowled you over when you figured it out? Some of the answers had to do with...

Etymology of “Lynch”

A trip to Montgomery, Alabama, to visit The Legacy Museum chronicling the African-American experience, the Rosa Parks Museum at Troy University, and the profoundly moving National Memorial for Peace and Justice prompts Martha to delve into the...

Mordida!

In Spanish, mordida literally means “a bite,” but it’s a kind of bribe. It predates the English phrase “put the bite on someone” by more than a hundred years. One proposed etymology for the Spanish term is that divers...