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That Melon’s Busted

If you’re in the Ozarks, you might hear the expression that means the same as water under the bridge or spilled milk: “that melon’s busted.” The idea in all three cases is that something irrevocable has happened, and...

Shiver Me Timbers

Careful what you criticize! Not long ago, some words that sound perfectly normal today were considered gauche and grating on the ear. If the complainers had had their way, we couldn’t say a word like pessimism or use contact as a verb! Also...

Catillate

Put a plate of milk in front of a cat, and you know that cat will catillate. This is part of a complete episode.

The Honey Spring

A 1904 dialect collection tipped us off to this variation on the idea of going to the land of milk and honey: “Going to find the honey spring and the flitter tree,” flitter being a variant of fritter, as in something fried and delicious...

Terms for Practical Jokes

The Dictionary of American Regional English has many terms for practical jokes played on newbies, like sending someone out for a bucket of steam, or for pigeon milk, or for a nickel’s worth of dimes. This is part of a complete episode.