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Overhauling Has Nautical History

In nautical parlance, if you slacken a rope by pulling in the opposite direction to separate the blocks in a block-and-tackle system, you’re said to overhaul it — the inspiration for the more general term that means to “change...

Episode 1545

Baby’s Breath

Have you ever googled your own name and found someone else who goes by the very same moniker? There’s a word for that: googleganger. Plus, the language of hobbyists and enthusiasts: If you’re a beekeeper, perhaps you call yourself a...

Baseball Lingo

Ducks on the pond, frozen rope, tumblebug, and high cheese are baseball slang. Ducks on the pond means runners on base, frozen rope is a line drive, a tumblebug is a fielder who makes a catch and adds theatrical flair, and high cheese is a fastball...

spider cleaning

spider cleaning  n.— «As high-rise buildings mushroom across the city, facade cleaners—the ones who dangle from ropes to give those glass houses the impeccable look—are finding more jobs and more challenges.…“If a person hangs from a...

lure knocker

lure knocker  n.— «Every fisherman should also carry what is called a “lure knocker,” which is a device with a weight on the end and a short length of chain attached to a long rope. The device will hook onto your snagged lure...

belay slave

belay slave  n.— «The technical term for the climber who goes first is the “leader”; that’s the climber on the “sharp” end of the rope—the end you can hurt yourself on. The term for the climber who holds the rope...