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Duke’s Mixture

Sheree from Boerne, Texas, says her mother used to refer to leftovers as a duke’s mixture. The original Duke’s mixture was a loose, low-quality tobacco sold in a pouch by the same tobacco company that would later donate millions to the...

When Tigers Smoked

In English, fairy tales often begin with the phrase “once upon a time.” In contrast, Korean folktales often begin with “In the old days, when tigers used to smoke,” or similar phrases, such as “In the old, old days when...

Giggle Weeds

A woman in Indianapolis, Indiana, says her father regularly used the phrase out in the giggle weeds, meaning out in the middle of nowhere or off the beaten path. Giggle weed is slang for both marijuana and jimson weed, a naturally growing highly...

Good Juju

Imagine a time when heroin was marketed for the whole family. It really happened! Also, how Twitter, M&M’s, and Hallmark cards got their names. Plus, restaurant slang, bad juju, having a wild hair, cutting to the quick, and use vs. utilize.

Pipe Dream

A pipe dream is “an unobtainable hope” or “an unrealistic fantasy.” The term originates from the idea of opium pipes and the strange dreams one might incur while high on opium. Back in the 1890s when the term first showed up...

Jonesing Origin

Where does the phrase jonesing for come from? Heroin addicts first introduced the expression in the early 1960s, but like many bits of slang, it soon left its original subculture and entered the mainstream vernacular. There’s no evidence to...