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Oh My Stars and Garters

The exclamation “Oh my stars and garters!” likely arose from a reference to the British Order of the Garter. The award for this highest level of knighthood includes an elaborate medal in the shape of a star. The expression was probably...

Door-Knocker Beard

In the 19th century, the slang term door-knocker referred to a beard-and-mustache combo that ringed the mouth in the shape of a metal ring used to tap on a door. This is part of a complete episode.

Pez Name Origins

When an Austrian candy maker needed a name for his new line of mints, he took the first, middle, and last letters of the German word pfefferminz, or “peppermint,” to form the brand name PEZ. He later marketed the candies as an...

Blind Tiger

When you pick up a book of poems, how many do you read in one sitting? Some people devour several in a row, while others savor them much more slowly. Plus, it’s a problem faced by politicians and public speakers: When you have to stand in...

The Merkel-Raute

Even foreign dignitaries can be plagued with the age-old problem of standing around in public: what do you do with your hands? German Chancellor Angela Merkel has taken to holding her hands in a certain way so often that it’s been named the...

Little Pitchers

Did you know reading poetry improves your prose? That includes hip-hop lyrics, too.  Also, how linguist can guess where you come from based on how you speak.  What do you call someone who picks the chocolate out of the trail mix...