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Stars and Garters

Novelist Charles Dickens created many unforgettable characters, but he’s also responsible for coining or popularizing lots of words, like “flummox” and “butterfingers.” Also, the life’s work of slang lexicographer...

Bunking

Students in New England might refer to playing hooky from school as bunking, or bunking off. Jonathon Green’s Dictionary of Slang traces the term back to the 1840s in the British Isles. This is part of a complete episode.

Idiom’s Delight

A recent study found that some names crop up more frequently than others in certain professions. The name William is especially common among attorneys–and graphic designers include a higher-than-average number of Jessicas. Plus, picturesque...

Tickets to the Gun Show

Why do we call our biceps guns? The slang lexicographer Jonathon Green suggests that the metaphor first pops up in baseball around the 1920s, when players referred to their throwing arms as guns. Believe it or not, the early baseball pitchers...

Green’s Dictionary of Slang

Can you guess what a smiley is? No, the other smiley. Or how about tarantula juice? You could, of course, happen upon someone with a muffin top drinking inferior whisky, or you could look these terms up in the new Green’s Dictionary of Slang...