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When something’s crooked, some people describe it as catawampus, cattywampus, or kittywampus. A caller wonders about the historical roots of all these words. Anything to do with felines? This is part of a complete episode.


tromboning  n.— «A prime example is the historical monopolisation of the telecoms sector by Telkom. In order to deliver cheaper calls we have been forced to resort to a method called tromboning. Here, we actually re-route calls to...

midnight rule making

midnight rule making  n.— «Anticipating an end-of-administration rush to churn out hundreds of regulations—a practice known as “midnight rule making”—the White House counseled agencies to restrain themselves. “We need to continue [our]...


soaking  n.— «While only the historical clubs will play baseball, they will invite children to take part in rounders. “You could throw the ball at people to get them out,” Mr. Fesolowich said, a practice called soaking.» —“Spare...

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