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Episode 1543

Goody Two-Shoes

She sells seashells by the seashore. Who is the she in this tongue twister? Some claim it’s the young Mary Anning, who went on to become a famous 19th-century British paleontologist. Dubious perhaps, but the story of her rise from seaside...

Episode 1533

Life of Riley

Unwrap the name of a candy bar, and you just might find a story inside. For instance, one chewy treat found in many a checkout lane is named after a family’s beloved horse. And: 50 years ago in the United States, some Latino elementary...

The Life of Riley History and Origin

Marie-Claire from Montreal, Canada, wonders why we say that someone living in carefree luxury is living the life of Riley. No one’s sure this expression’s origin, although it may be associated with a 19th-century vaudeville song about an...

1909 Life of Riley

A 1909 newspaper article from the Paterson, New Jersey, Morning Call recounts the story of a runaway teen who was living the life of Riley — if only briefly. This is part of a complete episode.

Stereotype Origins and Meaning

While reading Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, Sidney from Indianapolis, Indiana, stumbled across the use of the term stereotyped notice to denote a printed announcement of a meeting. It’s an example of this word’s earliest...