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Breathe a Scab

A Traverse City, Michigan, man is curious about the phrase his mother-in-law uses: breathing a scab. She uses it to indicate that someone who’s pushing limits or otherwise on thin ice metaphorically. The phrase is far more commonly breeding a...

Etymology of Punch List

Since the 1930’s the term “punch list” has referred to a list of things to do, or a list of problems to fix. Although there are many proposed explanations for the origin of this term, none is definitive. This is part of a complete...

Google Books Corpus

Grant is pleased as punch about BYU Professor Mark Davies’ new Google Books Corpus, which contains entries for every word ever in the entire Google Books database. In addition to parts of speech and definitions, the site provides contextual...

The “Its” Just Keep on Coming

Hello, fellow wordies! We hope this week’s archive edition isn’t “a few pickles short of a jar” or “a few peas short of a casserole.” We talk about these and other phrases for “not measuring up.” Also:...

arm hangover

arm hangover  n.— «“After the last outing in Tampa I had what I call an arm hangover,” Bannister said. “It was extra sore. I tried to get ready, but I honestly just didn’t have it tonight. I didn’t punch anybody out until that...