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Go Pear-Shaped Origins

Wayne in Sherman, Texas, wonders how the term pear-shaped came to describe something that’s gone badly. The expression seems to have arisen during Falklands War of the early 1980s. If you need a word for pear-shaped, there’s always pyriform...

Sugar Weather

Sugar weather refers to a period of time during the spring in Canada marked by warm days and cold nights, when the sap starts running in the trees. This is part of a complete episode.

When A Salamander is a Heater

Jason in San Antonio, Texas, is curious why the term salamander is applied to small heater on a construction site. In ancient lore, the mythical beast called a salamander was impervious to fire. Later salamander was applied to various heating...

Lick the Cat Over

Debra in Gates, North Carolina, says that her husband tries to do things right the first time because, as he puts it, he doesn’t like licking the cat over. To have to lick the cat over is to have to repeat a laborious process for a second time...

Pronunciation of Apricot

A Fort Worth, Texas, listener wonders about the pronunciation of the word apricot. Is that first syllable long or short? The answer depends on what part of the country you’re in. If you’re in the northern United States, for example...

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