Home » Iona and Peter Opie

TagIona and Peter Opie

Egg-Tapping

Marian from Schroon Lake, New York, says her family plays an egg-tapping game after every Easter egg hunt. Each player takes an egg and taps it against someone else’s, hoping that their own egg won’t crack. The egg that survives a round...

Narrowback Irish

Sean, who is originally from Ireland, wonders if the term narrowback, which usually refers to second- or third-generation Irish-Americans, is considered a slur against the Irish. He also references an earlier conversation of ours about the term...

Tick-Tacking and Other Pranks

Monica says that generations of children in her Augusta, Kentucky, neighborhood would go tick-tacking, or playing pranks during the nights leading up to Halloween — soaping car windows, tossing corn kernels onto front porches, leaving flaming paper...

The Pet Name “Booby”

A Canadian-born caller says her mother, who is from Britain, addresses her grandson as booby. In The Lore and Language of Schoolchildren, researchers Iona and Peter Opie write that booby is a children’s term for “a foolish...

Puddin’ Tame or Pudding Tane

“What’s your name?” “I’m Puddin’ Tame, ask me again and I’ll tell you the same!” This and other rhymes, such as “What’s your number? Cucumber!” derive from French, English, and American...

Mute Point

What do you call it when you roll past a stop sign without coming to a complete stop? A California stop, a Michigan stop — or something else? And if someone calls you a voracious reader, would you be flattered or insulted? Also, Puddin’ Tame, the...

Recent posts