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Looks Like They Stepped Out Of A Bandbox

Susan from Cocker City, Kansas, says her mother used to describe someone who appeared impeccably dressed with the phrase She looked like she stepped out of a bandbox. In the 17th century, the word band could denote a garment collar, sometimes...

Gym Class Pinnies

Our conversation about the phrase pain in the pinny and its relationship to the word pinafore prompted Susan from Eugene, Oregon, to share a memory of wearing pinnies in gym class. This is part of a complete episode.

Who Did It And Ran

Susan in Williamsport, Pennsylvania, recalls that when someone looked less than presentable, her mother would tell them they looked like who did it and ran. Variants include who did it and ran away or who messed you up and ran away. The common...

Episode 1529

At First Blush

Book recommendations and the art of apology. Martha and Grant share some good reads, including an opinionated romp through English grammar, a Spanish-language adventure novel, an account of 19th-century dictionary wars, and a gorgeously illustrated...

What Makes a Good Apology?

Which phrase conveys a more heartfelt, sincere apology: I’m sorry or I apologize? The answer depends less on word choice and more on context. Some useful books about the art of apologizing: Sorry About That by Edwin Batistella and I Was Wrong...