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Desperate Ambrose

Deborah in Lawrenceburg, Indiana, remembers a phrase from her grandfather: Desperate Ambrose. He’s so desperate he would steal a hot stove. The first part is a reference to Desperate Ambrose, a character in the comic strip...

Devil Strip

Terry, a native of Akron, Ohio, is curious why it seems no one outside of his hometown uses the term devil strip to mean “the narrow band of grass between sidewalk and street.” Devil strip was formerly used this way in a few other...

Hike Naked Day

According to Journeys North: The Pacific Crest Trail (Bookshop|Amazon) by Barney Scout Mann, the term Hike Naked Day is rumored to have arisen among hikers along the Mexico-to-Canada route. It’s June 21, a day when many through-hikers...

Inkle

An inkle is a colorful strip of linen woven on a miniature, portable loom. No one knows the term’s origin, but an old idiomatic expression, thick as inkle-weavers meant “extremely close or intimate.” The idea was that inkle looms...

2017 Words of the Year

Grant reviews notable words and phrases from 2017. One is path of totality, meaning the part of the earth completely covered in shadow when the moon blocks the sun. Another is milkshake duck, which arose from a tweet by Australian cartoonist Ben...

Bungalow Belt

An Indianapolis, Indiana, woman offers a followup to our discussions about various geographic belts around the country. The Bungalow Belt in Chicago refers to a strip of small brick bungalows just inside the city limits originally occupied by...