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Episode 1581

Your Imaginary Boyfriend

We use the term Milky Way for that glowing arc across the sky. But how people picture it varies from culture to culture. In Sweden, that starry band goes by a name that means “Winter Street,” and in Hawaii, a term for the Milky Way...

So Mad I Could Spit Nickels

Juice in Genoa, New York, remembers her mother used to say I am so mad I could spit nickels. It’s one of several variations on the idea of being angry enough to spit, period, or to spit something specific, such as spit tacks, spit nails, spit...

Dead Ringers and Spitten Images

Two familiar terms that have inspired lots of bogus etymologies are “dead ringer” and “spitting image.” “Dead ringer” probably comes from horse racing, where a ringer is a horse that may look like other horses in...

Mary Had a Little Problem

“Mary had a little lamb, its fleece was black as ink, it chewed the paper off the walls and spit it in the sink.” There’s a variation you probably missed on the playground! This is part of a complete episode.

swish and spit

swish and spit  n.— «It requires transoceanic vessels to dump ballast water at least 200 miles from shore. Those carrying no ballast must rinse their tanks with salt water, a process known as “swish and spit,” to kill organisms lurking in...