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Episode 1576

Sour Pickle

You know that Yogi Berra quote about how Nobody ever comes here; it’s too crowded? Actually, the first person to use this was actress Suzanne Ridgeway, who appeared in several movies with The Three Stooges. A new book shows that many well...

Peanut Leg

Mara, a student from the Democratic Republic of the Congo now studying at the University of North Alabama, thought Google Translate rendered the French for “peanut butter” as peanut leg. Instead of using it to translate the French word...

Put a Bug in One’s Ear

Jamie from Calais, Vermont, says an unfortunate experience with an insect made her wonder about the expression to put a bug in your ear or put a bug in one’s ear, meaning “to make a strong, insistent suggestion to someone.” An...

To Be Beside Onself

Peter in Eau Claire, Wisconsin, asks how the expression I’m beside myself came to mean “upset” or “unsettled.” The phrase suggests an out-of-body experience and came into English in the 14th century via a French...

Knives All Over Yet None is Sharp

There’s a Chinese term for a generalist that literally translates as “equipped with knives all over, yet none is sharp.” In Estonia, a similar idea is expressed with a phrase that translates as “nine trades, the tenth one...

Episode 1516

Train of Thought

Chances are you recognize the expressions Judgment Day and root of all evil as phrases from the Bible. There are many others, such as the powers that be and bottomless pit, which both first appeared in scripture. • There’s a term for when the...