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Stranger: Shall I Play Mother?

One old sense of the word stranger means “a lone tea leaf floating in a cup of tea.” A longtime superstition holds that such a lone leaf means a stranger will soon show up at the door. In Britain, a host may offer to pour a cup of tea...

Pick Your Brain

On our Facebook group, listeners had a spirited discussion about the expression I’d like to pick your brain, meaning “I’d like to get your advice.” It’s a metaphor for extracting knowledge, of course, but the literal...

Word for Getting the Last Remnants out of a Bottle

Bill calls from Bulverde, Texas, to discuss the word for a technique his Indiana-born family used to get the sluggish last bit of ketchup out of a bottle. They’d add a bit of water, and say they were wabashing it. What possible connection would the...

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