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Go Fry Ice

Kathleen from Ithaca, New York, remembers her mother saying Go fry ice! meaning “Bug off!” It’s probably a minced oath replacing a phrase that exhorts the hearer to go do something else that starts with F. The earliest known...

Poetic Afghan Graffiti

In Afghanistan, proverbs and poetry are part of everyday conversation. When Martha spoke with Khaled Hosseini, author of The Kite Runner and And the Mountains Echoed, at the Museum of Contemporary Art in San Diego, he told her about graffiti in...

The Thing Is, Is

Many public speakers, including President Obama, have developed a reputation for using the reduplicative copula. You know, that thing where he says, “the thing of it is, is…” In wonky speak, this is what happens when a cleft...

Go Fly a Kite

“Go fly a kite!” A caller from Washington, D.C. wonders whose kite is getting flown and why. Naturally, we have some ideas! Here’s a copy of the cartoon Grant mentions (from the Chicago Tribune May 15, 1927, p. G2). This is part of...

Puddle and Hang Paper

This week’s Slang This! contestant finds out whether the word puddle is a slang term for part of a car’s muffler and if the expression hang paper involves flying kites. This is part of a complete episode.