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More Bicycling Slang

Our conversation about gram weenies, those ultralight backpackers who go to extremes to shave off every last bit of excess weight in their gear, prompts a bicyclist in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, to share some cycling slang about ways to find a...

Greek Roots

The words plethora and drastic both have roots in ancient Greek. Both were first used in English as medical terms, plethora indicating “an excess of bodily fluid” and drastic meaning “having an effect.” This is part of a...

Cabbage as a Verb

Tracy from Sherman, Texas, wonders why her dad always used cabbage as a verb to mean “to pilfer or swipe.” This term goes back to at least the 18th century, when the verb to cabbage had to do with employee theft. Specifically, it...

Cumshaw Artistry

We spoke earlier about cumshaw artists, or people who get things done by crafty stealing or bartering. Alan Johnson from Plano, Texas, told us a story from his Air Force days in Vietnam, when he and some comrades stole a bunch of plywood by sneaking...

iceberg disease

iceberg disease  n.— «Experts commonly refer to it as an “iceberg” disease. Visible at the tip are individuals whose symptoms include diarrhea, abdominal pain, weight loss and, in children, delayed growth. The rest of the...

logbook lending

logbook lending  n.— «Increasing numbers of borrowers with bad credit records are resorting to taking out loans with exorbitantly high interest against the value of their cars, according to debt counselling charities. The practice, known...