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Egg-Tapping

Marian from Schroon Lake, New York, says her family plays an egg-tapping game after every Easter egg hunt. Each player takes an egg and taps it against someone else’s, hoping that their own egg won’t crack. The egg that survives a round...

English on a Ball

Marco from San Diego, California, is curious about why sportscasters speak of a player who put English on a ball. The expression appears to have begun with British players of billiards and snooker, who first figured out how to give a ball some extra...

Golfing Calcutta

A listener from Charlottesville, Virginia, is dating a professional golfer who often plays a Calcutta with other tour members. Calcutta, a betting game going back over 200 years, involves every player betting before the tournament on who they think...

Chops for the Dots

What does it mean to have chops? In the 1500s, chops was a slang term for the face or lips, but it carried into African-American jazz culture to mean that a brass or wind player had good embouchure. The idea is reflected in the old jazz...

Football Jargon

Football, like most sports, brings its own set of idioms and jargon that ride the line between cleverness and cliche. The adjective multiple describes a player, an offense or defense, or even a whole team that has multiple threats or talents. And a...

Beast Mode

If something’s “the bee’s knees,” you can bet that it’s also beast. A sixth grade teacher wonders about the term beast being thrown around by her students. This synonym for “cool” or “good” is...