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Mrs. Astor’s Pet Horse

Julie in Greenwood, Indiana, says her mother was fond of the expression Mrs. Astor’s pet horse, meaning “someone who dresses ostentatiously.” The phrase refers to Caroline Webster Schermerhorn Astor, from the ultra-wealthy Astor...

The Pet Name “Booby”

A Canadian-born caller says her mother, who is from Britain, addresses her grandson as booby. In The Lore and Language of Schoolchildren, researchers Iona and Peter Opie write that booby is a children’s term for “a foolish...

Top Pet Names

According to vetstreet.com, the top ten female puppy names from 2012 include Bella, Daisy, Lucy, Molly, and Lola. Notice anything odd? They’re all human names! Gone are the days of pets named Fluffy and Pooch. In are the days of human children...

Evolving Pet Names

Martha shares a listener’s email about a pet’s name changing over time. In this case, it’s a cat whose name morphed from “Orange Juice” all the way to “Lanny.” Martha traces the con-cat-enation of monikers...

Pet Dog Name Change

Martha shares another email about the evolution of a pet’s name, in this case a dog whose original name was Dumpster. Now the pooch is named after the 19th president of the United States. Sort of. This is part of a complete episode.