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If Ifs and Ands Were Pots and Pans

Sherry from Green Bay, Wisconsin, remembers that whenever she balked at doing a chore as a kid, her grandmother would say If ifs and ands were pots and pans, a tinker would have no trade. Her grandmother was suggesting that merely paying lip service...

Ifs and Buts and Candied Nuts

A middle school teacher in Flower Mound, Texas, responds to students’ protests and excuses with if all our buts were candied nuts, we’d all be fat for Christmas. It’s probably a variation of a phrase popularized by former Dallas...

Etymology of Slang “Dude”

Dude, how’d we ever start using the word dude? The Big Grantbowski traces the word’s origin—it’s over 125 years old. Here’s a poem about dandy dudes from 1883, the year the word zoomed into common use. Ben Zimmer at Visual...