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Cornswoggled and Hornswoggled

Margaret from Dallas, Texas, wonders about a word that both her grandfather and mother use: cornswoggled. It means “confused.” Cornswoggled is a variation of hornswoggled or hornswaggled, which originally meant “to be...

If a Bullfrog Had Wings

Mitchell from Arlington, Texas, wonders about his father’s expression: If a bullfrog had wings, he wouldn’t bump his butt. It’s been around since at least the early 1900s, and is a variation on an older expression, If pigs had...

A Wet Bird Never Flies at Night

Rachel from San Diego, California, says that her grandfather would occasionally answer questions with the phrase wet ducks don’t fly at night. It’s a variation of a wet bird never flies at night, a phrase that figures in a goofy joke...

Gauming Around

When Matt was growing up in western North Carolina, he heard the word gaum, also spelled gom, meaning a mess. Someone misbehaving might be described as gauming around, or something was gaumed up, meaning messed up, or a person was dismissed as...