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Origin of “On the Ball”

How about the phrase “on the ball”? A listener wonders if its origin derives from a landing maneuver on aircraft carriers. Does his theory hold water? This is part of a complete episode.

container syndrome

container syndrome  n.— «It’s a controversial theory, but a vocal contingent of doctors and physical therapists believe the strap-in chairs and carriers that millions of parents have come to rely on are contributing to an increase in cases...

mag-stripe

mag-stripe  n.— «In theory, overseas merchants are required to accept US cards (which are called “mag-stripe,” for the magnetic stripe that identifies each card).» —“HomeATM’s “PIN my Card” Solves Chip and PIN...

resource curse

resource curse  n.— «Although economic growth is a key ingredient to poverty reduction, some academics have formulated the “resource curse” theory, which, broadly stated, includes the proposition that an economy blessed with...

peaknik

peaknik  n.— «Many of the new, nontraditional preparedness converts are “Peakniks,” Mr. Rawles said, referring to adherents of the “Peak Oil” theory. This concept holds that the world will soon, or has already, reached a peak in oil...

God spot

God spot  n.— «That conflicts not only with the limbic-system theory but also with earlier reports of a so-called God Spot that derived partly from work conducted on epileptics. These reports suggested that religiosity originates...