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Gunnysack Origin

Elsie from Fredericksburg, Texas, wonders if a gunnysack and a burlap bag are the same thing. Both are made from coarse fabric, but the word gunnysack is actually redundant, because the gunny goes back to a Sanskrit word that means “sack...

Jockey Box, Glove Compartment

Barbara from Seattle, Washington, was surprised to hear a friend from Montana use the term jockey box to mean “glove compartment.” Heard in much of the Northwestern United States, jockey box is a relic of the days when the drivers of...

Barker’s Eggs

If you’re taking the dog for a walk, be sure to talk along a plastic bag to pick up any barker’s eggs. This is part of a complete episode.

Bed Pallet

Melanie in San Antonio, Texas, wonders about the use of the word pallet to mean improvised bedding on the floor. It goes back to a French term for it, paillet, which comes from a word meaning straw. The word also appears in some translations of the...

Falling to Staves

Someone who’s really hungry might say I’m falling to staves, meaning they’re famished. It’s a reference to the way a barrel falls apart if the metal hoops that hold them together are removed. This is part of a complete...

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