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Traffic Neckdown

Like Bott’s dots and cat’s eyes, the word neckdown comes from the language of traffic flow regulation. A neckdown is an extension of a curb that widens the path for pedestrians and slows moving vehicles. Also called curb extensions, bulb...

Ribey

A Chicago, Illinois, man says his Appalachian relatives describe a thin or gaunt person as ribey. This adjective probably derives from the Scots term ribe, meaning a tall, scraggly plant and by extension a tall, thin person. This is part of a...

Kick into Touch

In rugby and soccer to kick into touch means to “kick a ball out of play.” The phrase by extension is used in British English mean to “take some kind of action so that a decision is postponed” or otherwise get rid of a...

Foundering on Cake

The verb to founder applies to horses that overeat to a dangerous extent. It’s used by extension in less severe situations involving humans, such as children at a birthday party foundering on cake and ice cream. This is part of a complete...

Venza’s Razor

After our episode that mentioned eponymous laws, we got a call from Darby Venza from Austin, Texas, who came up with this bit of wisdom, otherwise known as Venza’s Razor: Whenever a garden hose or extension cord can catch on something, it will...

Blow the Soot Out

If you’re blowing the soot out, you might literally be clearing the soot out of a flue. By extension, it’s a term that means “relieving stress.” This is part of a complete episode.