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Paper Tiger Origin

Mateo in Richmond, Virginia, is curious about a story he heard about the term paper tiger, meaning “something that looks fearsome or ferocious, but is actually flimsy or weak.” It’s not from Tiger, a type of German tank used during...

Episode 1540

Tiger Tail

You may have a favorite word in English, but what about your favorite in another language? The Spanish term ojalá is especially handy for expressing hopefulness and derives from Arabic for “God willing.” In Trinidad, if you want to ask...

Have a Wolf by the Ears

Stephanie in Green Bay, Wisconsin, was puzzled when a colleague used the expression like grabbing a wolf by the ears to describe an impossible task. Like the idiom to have a tiger by the tail, it suggests the paralyzing difficulty of having hold of...

Blind Tiger

When you pick up a book of poems, how many do you read in one sitting? Some people devour several in a row, while others savor them much more slowly. Plus, it’s a problem faced by politicians and public speakers: When you have to stand in...

Blind Tiger Speakeasy

The Blind Tiger was a speakeasy during prohibition, perhaps so named because patrons would hand over money to peek at a fictitious blind animal, but also receive illegal booze as part of the bargain. The terms blind tiger and blind pig eventually...