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No Tea, No Shade

The slang expression “No Tea, No Shade,” meaning “No disrespect, but …” is common in the drag community, where T means “truth.” The related phrase “All Tea, All Shade,” means “This statement is...

Awesome and Awful

Awesome and awful may have the same root, but they’ve evolved opposite meanings. Awful goes back more than a thousand years, when it originally meant “full of awe” and later “causing dread.” Awesome showed up later and...

Etymology of Catch My Fade

“Catch my fade,” meaning, “I’m going to beat you up,” takes from a 100-year-old usage of fade. To fade someone meant to punish, beat, or conquer another. This is part of a complete episode.

Etymology of Buckle Down

Buck up, meaning toughen up or get it together, has a long history stemming from the days when travelling trunks had buckles on them that needed to be fastened. Over the years, variations like “buckle down” and “buckle” have...

Up and Quit

Why do people up and quit? Can’t they just … quit? In the 1300s, up and followed by an action literally meant you got up and did something. Today, it’s taken the figurative meaning of doing something with vigor and enthusiasm, and...