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Horses Run Rampant Through English

Several phrases have stuck around long after a time when horses were much more common in daily life. They include don’t look a gift horse in the mouth, which is a warning not to expect a gift too closely, and straight from the horse’s...

Vet Someone

What does it mean to vet a political candidate? The word “vet” comes from veterinarian, specifically the ones who would examine a horse before a race to make sure it was healthy and eligible. Similarly, one might vet a candidate to make...

ruptured duck

ruptured duck  n.— «On Friday, the congressman brought to the hospital what Miller had earned all those years ago—a campaign medal, a Combat Action ribbon, an Honorable Service lapel pin (known to veterans as “the ruptured...

Etymology of Political “Vetting”

We hear a lot about vetting candidates for political office, but where’d we get the verb to vet? Does vetting have to do with “veterans,” “veterinarians,” or something else entirely? This is part of a complete episode.

Net walker

Net walker  n.— «More broadly, the Internet is changing prostitution. In recent years, thousands of prostitutes have posted their own Web sites, including their pictures and contact information. They are called Net walkers. The Internet...

T-patcher

T-patcher  n.— «With lethal German 88mm artillery shells raining down, Panzer tanks attacked the 36th’s flanks. The T-patchers, as they were called (their insignia was a “T” on an arrowhead patch), literally engaged in “hand-to-tank”...