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Why Are Some Competitions “Heats”?

Why do we use the word heat to denote a preliminary qualifying race? Hundreds of years ago, a single instance of heating something such as a piece of metal over a fire for metalworking was called a heat. Later that term was applied to “a round...

British Slang to Grass Someone

If you watch British police procedurals, you’ll likely come across the term to grass someone, meaning “to inform on someone” or “to rat someone out.” It’s a bit of British rhyming slang that originated with the 19th...

miss-marked

miss-marked  adj.— «Any rat that has white areas with color is considered marked. There are certain areas that white can be expected. Typically, rats can have a belly patch (Irish), chest patch (English-Irish), full belly white and white...

rat goof

rat goof  n.— «In previous court appearances, Semchuk frequently hurled invectives at both the Crown and judge, often referring to them as “rat goofs” and “incompetent.”» —“Crown wants Semchuk deemed dangerous...

Dance at Two Weddings

This week’s “Slang This!” contestant tries to decipher the slang phrases dance at two weddings and put the big pot in the little pot. She also shares her own favorite slang terms for crumb crusher, rug rat and ankle biter. By the...

rat hole

rat hole  n.— «The intervening space between tire and wheel well is sometimes called the dead cat hole, according to Peter Davis, director of interior design for global compact utility vehicles at G.M. More colorful and less formal terms...