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Needs be the Devil Meet

Paul in Arlington, Texas, wonders about his grandmother’s response when he used to tell her he needed something. She’d say It needs be the devil meet. It’s likely a version of the older phrase He must needs go that the devil drives...

Devil Strip

Terry, a native of Akron, Ohio, is curious why it seems no one outside of his hometown uses the term devil strip to mean “the narrow band of grass between sidewalk and street.” Devil strip was formerly used this way in a few other...

Laugh-In Catch Phrases

You bet your sweet bippy! meaning “Definitely!” comes from a large cache of catchphrases from the TV variety series Rowan & Martin’s Laugh-In, which was wildly popular in the late 1960s. The bippy in this case was a euphemism...

Take the Devil Out of It

A San Antonio, Texas, woman wonders about a tradition she grew up with. Before drinking an alcoholic beverage, you hand the drink to someone else to have a sip in order to take the devil out of it. This is part of a complete episode.

Mischief Night

In many neighborhoods, the night before Halloween is the night when pranksters run around wreaking all kinds of mischief–toilet-papering houses, spraying windows with shaving cream, ringing doorbells and then running away. A Connecticut woman...

Devil Strip

What do you call the strip of grass between the street and the sidewalk? Depending on where you live, you may call it a tree lawn, a berm, a city strip, the parking, or one of a host of other regional terms for it. In a small part of the country...