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Call for Tender

What does it mean to call for tender? This British phrase for soliciting a job is rarely seen in the United States, though tender, from the Latin for “to stretch or hold forth,” is used in North America in two different senses: “to...

Gazump

What does it mean to gazump someone? This phrase, specifically meaning “to swindle a customer in a real estate deal,” came about in the United States in the 1920s and 1930s before disappearing and then popping up again in England in the...

Why Do Girls Wear Pink?

We all know that the color pink is for boys and the color blue is for girls — at least, that’s how it was 100 years ago. Grant and Martha share the surprising history behind the colors we associate with gender. Plus, we go rollin’ in our...

Centricity Word Game

Quiz Guy Greg Pliska has a game called “Centricity”, emphasis on the “city.” For example, “Mickey ate all the fruit, leaving Minneapolis.” And as George H.W. Bush said to George W. Bush, “You can be...

When “Bad Writing” is Good

Ahoy! In this week’s brand-spankin’-new episode: Great gifts for language lovers, nerds vs. geeks, “tow the line” vs. “toe the line,” the slang term “poutrage,” and the crust in the corners of your...

Picklebacks and Mountweazels

Martha and Grant talk about phrases you love to hate, like “Do you mind if I put you on hold?” They also talk about mountweazels, jakey bums, picklebacks, and step-ins. And which is the proper term: mothers-in-law or mother-in-laws?