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Naked as a Jaybird

What’s the best way for someone busy to learn lots of new words quickly for a test like the GRE? Looking up their origins can help. Or, record yourself reading the words and definitions and play them back while you’re doing other chores...

Verklempt

A listener in Sheboygan Falls, Wisconsin, wonders about the origin of the word verklempt, which describes someone all seized up with emotion. This Yiddish term, also spelled farklempt, enjoyed a surge in popularity during the 1990s when it was used...

Like a Boss

Where does the meme like a boss come from? The original boss may be the rapper Slim Thug, whose 2005 track “Like A Boss,” from the album Already Platinum (which never went platinum), lists the myriad tasks he performs like a boss (e.g...

Really? Really!

Really??? Really! A college student in Provo, Utah, says he’s hearing this expression of sarcastic incredulity more and more— even catching himself saying this to his cellphone when it dropped a call. He suspects it comes from Saturday Night...

gabber

gabber  n.— «The guild was pointing out how soon television might grind to a halt, including shows like Saturday Night Live (almost immediately) and what the trades call “gabbers,” like the Letterman show (the host was a union...

conehead

conehead n. a scientist; a brainy person. Also cone. Editorial Note: Probably influenced by pointy-head ‘a brainy or intellectual person.’ Despite what the 1997 citation says, this term is probably also influenced by a series of skits and a movie...

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