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Around the Gool

A woman in Monkton, Vermont, says that when she and her 91-year-old mother return from a leisurely drive, her mother will proclaim, “That was a nice ride around the gool.” The phrase going around the gool appears in the Dictionary of...

Hell for Leather

A caller from Long Beach, California, says hell for leather describes “a reckless abandonment of everything but the pursuit of speed.” But why hell for leather? The expression seems to have originated in the mid-19th century, referencing...

50 Ways to Leave Word Quiz

Quiz Guy John Chaneski has a game built on the lyrical pattern of Paul Simon’s “50 Ways to Leave Your Lover” with clues like, “Mr. Tyson, even a boxer like you shouldn’t have a problem finding a 3-wheeled ride out of...

Dadisms

The father of one of Martha’s friends had all sorts lots of funny sayings, like the one he’d use during a lull in a conversation: “Do you live around here or do you ride a bicycle?” He’d also respond to, “Are you...

Piggyback

What does a piggyback ride have to do with pigs? Not much. In the 16th century, the word was pickaback, meaning to pitch or throw on one’s back. It’s had dozens of spellings over the past few centuries, but perhaps the word piggy has...

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...

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