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Ways of Answering the Phone

Do you answer the phone with a word or phrase that’s a little out of the ordinary? Readers of our email newsletter had some surprising answers to that question. One says that just for fun, he likes to answer with a cheery Front desk! A reader...

Episode 1573

Gold Dance

People who hunt treasure with metal detectors have a lingo all their own. Canslaw means the shreds of aluminum cans left after a lawnmower ran over them. And gold dance? That’s the happy jig you do if you find something far more valuable than...

Episode 1541

Walkie Talkie

One of the most powerful words you’ll ever hear — and one of the most poignant — isn’t in dictionaries yet. But it probably will be one day. The word is endling, and it means “the last surviving member of a species.” The...

Jabronie, Jaboney, Jambone

Who you calling a jabronie? And what exactly is a jabronie? (Or a jaboney, jadroney, jambone, jiboney, gibroni, gibroney, gabroney, jobroni, jobrone, etc.) Grant traces this playful insult, meaning a “rube” or “loser,” to the...

Anachronism and Anatopisms

It’s always fun to catch moviemakers’ blunders. Say you’re watching an epic about ancient Rome and spot a toga-clad extra who forgot to remove his wristwatch. That’s an anachronism. But what do you call something that’s...

Hand Over Fist

Why do we say someone is making money hand over fist? Does it have to do with two competitors putting one hand over the other on a baseball bat to determine who’s up first? Or does it have to do with pulling a rope? This is part of a complete...

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