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A Real Corker

Why is a mischievous child sometimes called a corker? A cork is the final word, the thing that ends a party when you put it back in the bottle, and put a cork in it means “stop talking.” In baseball, a corker is a ball struck powerfully...

Overhauling Has Nautical History

In nautical parlance, if you slacken a rope by pulling in the opposite direction to separate the blocks in a block-and-tackle system, you’re said to overhaul it — the inspiration for the more general term that means to “change...

Beefed it or Biffed It, You Fell Hard

Josh in Binghamton, New York, wonders about the slang term beefed it, meaning to “took a hard fall.” It’s probably connected to biff, often used in snowboarding and mountain biking, meaning “to fail” or do badly.”...

Baseball Cheese

Paul from Omaha, Nebraska, says as a result of watching the College World Series in that city, he and his son wondered when sports announcers started using the word cheese to describe a pitcher’s fastball, and such variants as throwing cheese...

Golf Parents

After our conversation about helicopter parents, who hover closely over their children, and the Danish term curling foraeldre, or “curling parents,” who sweep away problems ahead of their children, much like people sweeping the ice in...

1930s Baseball Slang

Baseball slang collected during the 1930s includes fishing trip for “taking a swing at a bad ball,” pour the pine for “to hit a good ball solidly,” and the derisive term collisions for “college players,”, that is...