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Keep Your Pants On

If everyone on the planet spoke a single language, wouldn’t that make life a whole lot easier? For that matter, is a common world language even possible? Maybe for a minute or so–until new words and phrases start springing up. Also, did...

Foreign Origin of an English Idiom

The idiom safe and sound tells the story of the English language in three words: safe comes from French, and sound is a Germanic word with the same root as Gesundheit, meaning “health.” This is part of a complete episode.

Seasonal Idiom “Winter’s Bone”

The title Winter’s Bone, an acclaimed film based on Daniel Woodrell’s country noir novel, is an idiom the author created by personifying the season, which throws the main character a bone. This is part of a complete episode.

“Saucered and Blowed” Idiom

Saucered and blowed is an idiom meaning that a project is finished or preparations are complete, but it’s not that odd—Bill Clinton’s used it. It derives from the rustic practice of spilling boiling-hot coffee into a saucer and blowing...

Good Juju

Imagine a time when heroin was marketed for the whole family. It really happened! Also, how Twitter, M&M’s, and Hallmark cards got their names. Plus, restaurant slang, bad juju, having a wild hair, cutting to the quick, and use vs. utilize.

Thrown For A Loop

We all lead busy lives—so are speed reading courses a good idea? Plus, if you hear someone speaking with a British accent, do you tend to assume they’re somehow more intelligent? And some common English surnames tell us stories about life in...

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