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Squeaky Clean Origin

Judy in Miami, Florida, wonders how the expression squeaky clean came to mean spotless, whether literally or metaphorically. At least as early as the 1930s, the squeaky clean referred to hair that was so free of oil and dirt it makes a squeaking...

Take a Jaybird

Judy from Indianapolis, Indiana, remembers her great-aunt Fanny using the expression take a jaybird, meaning take a sponge bath. She explained it as when you wash under your wings and your tail feathers, and maybe polish off your beak. Great-aunt...

Baffies

Baffies—not bathies—is a Scottish term for the slippers you might wear in the morning to and from the shower, cooking breakfast, or doing just about anything during the transition from barefootedness to having real shoes on. This is part of a...

Spit Baths

Spit baths are another common form of quickie baths, wherein a moist towel is used to wipe schmutz off a child’s face. One fraternity member emailed us to say that when he was in college, over-spraying with cologne in lieu of a shower was...