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The Last Straw

In this episode, books for word lovers, from a collection of curious words to some fun with Farsi. • Some people yell “Geronimo!” when they jump out of an airplane, but why? • We call something that heats air a heater, so why do we call...

Leather Britches Beans

A woman in Virginia Beach, Virginia, says her Appalachia-born grandmother would occasionally say that it was time to string the leather britches or to hang up the leather britches. She was referring to preserving green beans. So why the leather and...

Hell for Leather

A caller from Long Beach, California, says hell for leather describes “a reckless abandonment of everything but the pursuit of speed.” But why hell for leather? The expression seems to have originated in the mid-19th century, referencing...

Good Leather

A Wyoming native asks about the origin of her father’s term of approbation, good leather. Grant thinks it might be from baseball, where good leather means “good fielding with a leather ball in a leather glove.” This is part of a...

zhing-zhong

zhing-zhong  n.— «A deluge of cheap counterfeits, nicknamed “zhing-zhongs,” imported mainly from Asia, has threatened the viability of the country’s leather industry.» —“Save Us From ‘Zhing-Zhongs,’ Say Leather Industry...

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