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Thief with a Burning Hat

In Russian, someone with an uneasy conscience is described by an idiom that translates as “The thief has a burning hat”–perhaps because he’s suffering discomfort that no one else perceives. This is part of a complete episode.

Origin of Bespoke

Bespoke, as in bespoke tailored clothing, comes from an old word meaning “spoken for”—to bespeak means to request or order a good or service. This is part of a complete episode.

Jaggin Around

Jaggin around is a classic Pittsburghese term for “fooling around,” or “to poke fun or play tricks.” It’s likely related to jaggerbush, meaning a “thorny bush.” This is part of a complete episode.

Potching Around

A potch or putch is a slap, as in potch in tuchis. This term for spanking related to German Patsch, meaning “a slap.” A listener in Springfield, New Hampshire, says her family also used the term potching around to describe her...

Jook Joint

A jook joint is a roadside establishment where all sorts of drinking, dancing, and gambling may occur. Zora Neale Hurston described them in her 1934 essay “Characteristics of Negro Expression,” and the term probably derives from a West...

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