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Shoes on the Wrong Feet

A listener shares a story about the time his young granddaughter proudly showed off having tied her shoes. He points out that her shoes are on the wrong feet, but the granddaughter takes it literally, with amusing results. This is part of a complete...

Goody Two-Shoes Origin Story

Marge from Greenfield, Wisconsin, wonders why we refer to someone ostentatiously well-behaved as a goody-two-shoes. The 1765 book, The History of Little Goody Two Shoes tells the story of a poor young girl by the same name whose virtue is at long...

Hairy at the Heel

A Courtland, Alabama, woman wonders about the phrase hairy at the heel. Along with hairy-heeled, hairy about the heels, and hairy about the fetlocks, this snobby term describes someone who is considered ill-bred. It derives from the fact that non...

Shoes and Socks

Put on your shoes and socks. Born and bred. Lock and load. The reason these phrases are illogically ordered probably stems from the way one forms vowels in the mouth. If you think too hard about these terms, they start to look preposterous, the...

Rubber Match

What’s the antidote to living in a sound-bite world? How about unwinding with luxuriously expressive prose? Also, the cloak-and-dagger world of editing dictionary entries. Plus, what you might say instead of cursing, and oddball Scrabble words...

Sneakers vs. Tennis Shoes vs. Trainers

How do you refer to rubber-soled athletic shoes? Are they sneakers or tennis shoes? Something else, like trainers? When canvas shoes with soft rubber soles came into use, they were so quiet compared to wood-soled shoes that one could literally sneak...