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Bangladesh Mustache Idiom

If you’re in Bangladesh, the expression that translates as “oiling your mustache in anticipation of the jackfruit tree bearing fruit” makes perfect sense. In English, it means “don’t count your chickens.” A...

Put That on Your Skedooly

Hi! In the latest episode of “A Way with Words,” it’s the day jobs of famous writers. We also discuss Eskimo kisses, the Puerto Rican treat called a “limber,” how “fail” became a noun, “I’m...

jumps

jumps  n.pl.— «You look down again and the water’s boiling all around you. And you begin to see the culprits: white bass. They’re murdering a school of baitfish, and those baitfish are going airborne in a frantic attempt to escape. The...

miss-marked

miss-marked  adj.— «Any rat that has white areas with color is considered marked. There are certain areas that white can be expected. Typically, rats can have a belly patch (Irish), chest patch (English-Irish), full belly white and white...

Wreck of the Hesperus

“You look like the wreck of the Hesperus!” It means you look “disheveled, ragged, dirty, hung over, or otherwise less than your best.” It may sound like an odd phrase, but it made perfect sense to generations of...

jacket fries

jacket fries  n.pl.— «They’re what some restaurants call “jacket fries”: oblong slices of fried skin-on Idaho potato. Crisp at the edges but thick enough to be fluffy in the middle, they’re a lovely hybrid of chip and french...