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Channel Fever

Channel fever is “the feeling of excitement or restlessness that sailors experience as their ship nears its home port.” This is part of a complete episode.

At Large

If a suspect is at large, he is moving about freely. The term at large, which comes to us via French from Latin, refers not to size but to distance. The phrase by and large, meaning “generally” or “on the whole,” derives from...

Buy You A Beer vs. Pay You a Beer

A San Diego, California, man recalls working on a cruise ship with a Canadian who insisted the proper phrase is not Let me buy you a beer, but Let me pay you a beer. Is that construction ever correct? This is part of a complete episode.

The Coast is Clear

A woman in Vancouver, Washington, wants to know the origin of the phrase the coast is clear, meaning “it’s safe to proceed.” It most likely has to do with a literal coast, whether from the perspective of a ship at sea or guards...

Boaty McBoatface

Britain’s new polar research ship is named RSS Sir David Attenborough, even though an online vote overwhelmingly chose the name Boaty McBoatface. Versions of this playful construction go back at least as far as a 1987 episode of the television...