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Peenie-Wallie

What do you call a firefly in Jamaica? A peenie-wallie or a blinkie. For a lovely use of the first term, check out Valerie Bloom’s poem “Two Seasons.” Better yet, listen to the audio. This is part of a complete episode.

Seen From a Galloping Horse

Growing up in Jamaica, a woman used to hear her fashion-designer mother invoke this phrase to indicate that something was good enough, even if it was flawed: “A man on a galloping horse wouldn’t see it.” Variations include...

Crazy Crossword Clues

Should youngsters learn cursive handwriting in school? Plus, someone can be ruthless, but can that same person be ruthful? Which word refers to something larger, humongous or gargantuan? Also, funny newspaper corrections, a crossword quiz, Texas...

Wash-Belly

In Jamaica, the youngest child is commonly known as the wash-belly. In addition to being the youngest, the term can also connote that the wash-belly is lazy and spoiled. Frederic Cassidy traces this and other terms in his Dictionary of Jamaican...

browning

browning  n.— «Over the years of visiting Jamaica, I constantly heard the men referring to their favourite choice of girls as the ‘browning’ type. I have always wondered who originally came up with this term? During the early 1970s, while...

DFD-er

DFD-er  n.— «The trip to Rockaway Beach involves riding the A train over a different sort of New York landmark: Jamaica Bay. At the 116th Street stop is a busy area with delis and beach shops and, where 116th Street meets the ocean, an...