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Egg On

Why do we speak of trying to egg on a person, meaning to urge them to do something? Martha explains that the egg in this case has nothing to do with chickens. This kind of “egg” is derives from an old root that means to “urge on...

One Elephant, Two Elephant

In the U.K., they don’t count seconds as “one-Mississippi, two-Mississippi,” because, well, they have no Mississippi. Instead, they say “one-elephant, two-elephant.” Lynne Murphy, author of the blog Separated by a...


A listener reports that when her cat starts whining, she tells it to shut its kibble-hole. If only cats understood wordplay– or English. This is part of a complete episode.

Raining Chair Legs

When it’s raining cats and dogs, the Greeks say, “It’s raining chair legs!” Omniglot has many more terms for downpours around the world. This is part of a complete episode.


Shut your piehole! means “Shut your mouth!” Need more slang terms for the mouth? For starters, there’s potato trap, tater trap, tatty trap, bun trap, gingerbread trap, kissing trap, fly trap, rattle trap, baconhole, and cakehole...

Man’s Best Friend Paraprosdokian

“Outside of a dog, a book is a man’s best friend. Inside of a dog, it’s too dark to read.” This kind of sudden, surprising turn in a sentence is called a paraprosdokian. Martha and Grant trade some examples. This is part of a...

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