Home » Flea

TagFlea

Episode 1537

Bug in Your Ear

Is there something inherent in English that makes it the linguistic equivalent of the Borg, dominating and consuming other languages in its path? No, not at all. The answer lies with politics and conquest rather than language itself. Plus: a new...

When Camels Were Town Criers and Fleas Were Barbers

In Korea, fairy tales often begin with the saying In the old days, when tigers used to smoke. Turkish children often hear an opening like this one: Once there was, once there was not, when camels were town criers and fleas were barbers, when I...

Episode 1628

Book Moth

If you skip wearing underwear, you’re said to be going commando. This bit of slang originated during the Vietnam War, when U.S. commandos had compelling reasons to do without that particular piece of clothing. Plus, Watergate salad is a...

Wrestling Jackets

Here’s a variant of a phrase that’s familiar to many African-Americans, but virtually unknown to most others: “I’m so broke I couldn’t buy a louse a wrestling jacket.” What’s its meaning and origin...

flea

flea  n.— «A flea, in the parlance of medical students, is an internal medicine resident. And, by way of further explanation—here’s where the pejorative nature comes into play—a flea is “the last thing off a dying dog...