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Raining Pitchforks

What do you call a fierce rainfall? There are lots of vivid terms in this country besides “it’s raining cats and dogs.” Some Americans say “It’s raining pitchforks and hoe handles,” or “raining pitchforks...

Football Jargon

Football, like most sports, brings its own set of idioms and jargon that ride the line between cleverness and cliche. The adjective multiple describes a player, an offense or defense, or even a whole team that has multiple threats or talents. And a...

Origin of Nosy

Are we a nosy species? A listener married to a woman from Bangladesh explains how a Bengali term that translates as “nose-going” reflects the naturally inquisitive style of Bangladeshi culture. In many languages, the nose figures...

Raining Chair Legs

When it’s raining cats and dogs, the Greeks say, “It’s raining chair legs!” Omniglot has many more terms for downpours around the world. This is part of a complete episode.

Colorful Idioms

If you say to someone the Spanish equivalent of “you’re giving me green gray hairs” (me sacas canas verdes), it means that person is making you angry. In Japan, the phrase that literally translates as “one red dot”...

Black Beast Idiom

Some foreign idioms involving color have been adopted whole into English. A case in point: French bête noire. Literally, it means “black beast,” and it’s used figuratively now in English to mean anything particularly disliked or...

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