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“Lord Love a Duck” Origin

The history of the exclamation Lord love a duck!is unclear, but it may be a euphemism for a rhyming curse word or for the mild oath For the love of Christ! This is part of a complete episode.

Misplaced Euphemisms in Newscasts

Newscasters are going overboard with the euphemisms for death, like passed away, or simply passed. If someone died, it’s fine to say exactly that. This is part of a complete episode.

Stuck His Spoon in the Wall

If you say, “He stuck his spoon in the wall,” you mean that he died. In German, the person who’s deceased has passed along his spoon, and in Afrikaans, he’s jabbed his spoon into the ceiling. These expressions reflect the...

Johnny on the Spot

Does johnny-on-the-spot refer to a person or a porta-potty? Or both? The term johnny-on-the-spot, meaning a fellow who helpfully shows up at just the right instant, dates to the 1870s. But in the early 1900s, the john became a common euphemism for...

Pie in the Sky

Looking for a book to read with the kids, or maybe a guide to becoming a better writer? Why are leg cramps called charley horses? And where’d we get a phrase like pie in the sky? If you happen to be tall, you’ve no doubt heard plenty of...


From listener Richard Gaillard comes this question: I lived in North Carolina most of my life and in the North Carolina mountains for 11 years. Working as a carpenter I heard lots of slang terms. One exclamation (almost expletive) I heard often, and...

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