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Ballocks

“Ballocks!”, an exclamation of frustration or skepticism, is cognate with the word balls, and literally means “testicles.” Its use is considered far more racy in Great Britain than in the United States. This is part of a...

Jumping Up Bald-Headed

“Holy old jumping up baldheaded!” is a colorful exclamation with ties to both Jesus of Nazareth and Gary Busey. (In Busey’s case, the phrase was Holy Jumped-Up Baldheaded Jesus Palamino.) This is part of a complete episode.

Jumped Up Bald-Headed

What do your pronouns say about your own psychological makeup? If you use the word I a lot, does it mean you’re a leader . . . or a follower? A surprising study suggests that people of lower status in a group tend to use I the most. Also, a...

Fiddlesticks

The exclamation Fiddlesticks!, meaning “a trifle” or “something insignificant or absurd,” goes back to the time of Shakespeare. It endures in part because it’s fun to say. This is part of a complete episode.

Ish and Ishpee

Keep the ishpee out of your mouth. One caller’s parents used to shout “Ishpee!” when he or his siblings would try and eat dirt, marbles, or whatever they found on the floor. He wonders if this expression is unique to his family. It...

Guess What

English is full of unusual terms, both old (eleemosynary, favonian) and new (flyaway, catio). Also, the Swahili term that means “sleep like a log,” the multiple meanings of the word joint, cowpies and horse biscuits, what it means to...