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Take a Jaybird

Judy from Indianapolis, Indiana, remembers her great-aunt Fanny using the expression take a jaybird, meaning take a sponge bath. She explained it as when you wash under your wings and your tail feathers, and maybe polish off your beak. Great-aunt...

Gung Ho Origins

A Mandarin Chinese speaker is curious about the origin of gung ho, referring to great enthusiasm. It derives from an anglicized Chinese expression, kung-ho, meaning “work together,” which was adapted and popularized by Marine officer...

Little Gomer

A Burlington, Vermont, listener says that when he was a boy, his dad used to call him a “little Gomer.” It’s a reference to the 1960’s sitcom “Gomer Pyle,” which featured a bumbling but good-hearted U.S. Marine...

Go Hermantile

In the Navy and the Marines, if someone goes hermantile, they’re angry, shouting, and unpredictable. This slang expression is of uncertain origin. It goes back to World War I but has stayed almost exclusively within the military’s...