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Coinball, Nighthawk, and Other Metal Detecting Lingo

The lingo of metal detectorists is full of colorful terms: A coinball is a clot of earth with a coin in it, a nighthawk is someone who detects without a permit under cover of darkness, a gold dance is a gleeful jig upon discovering precious metal...

Fiddler’s Green

In nautical lore, Fiddler’s Green is the mythical place where dead mariners go to enjoy a life of leisure, with plenty of song, dancing, flirting, and rum. It may be tempting to connect this expression with mariners’ term fid, or a...

Jockey Box, Glove Compartment

Barbara from Seattle, Washington, was surprised to hear a friend from Montana use the term jockey box to mean “glove compartment.” Heard in much of the Northwestern United States, jockey box is a relic of the days when the drivers of...

Takeoffs Word Game

Quiz Guy John Chaneski proffers a puzzle he calls “F-Takeoffs,” which involves removing the initial letter F from a word to get an entirely different word. For example, if John orders some lumberjack tools by sending some scanned...

Billy Tape Measure

Mary says her Illinois-born husband and father-in-law refer to a measuring tape as a billy. The word billy is used in a slangy sense to refer long lengths of metal, such a billy knife, and a Billy Box is a kind of toolbox, but the use of billy to...