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Synanthropes

Synanthropes are creatures that live and thrive close to humans but aren’t pets — animals such as pigeons, raccoons, and rats. Synanthrope comes from Greek words that mean “with” and “human,” and has been around since...

Mob Scene

Barbara in Cardiff-by-the-Sea, California, wonders about the term mob scene, means an unruly, dense crowd. The term arose in the world of theater, where it denotes a point in a performance with lots of people onstage. The word mob is a shortening of...

Running Like a Pickle Seeder

A caller in Tegucigalpa, Honduras, says that when his grandfather was asked how he was doing, he’d reply, “running like a pickle seeder,” meaning “doing really well.” The joke, of course, is that there’s no such thing as a...

Rat Fink

In addition to being the name of  a plastic toy from the 60’s, the term rat fink was once used specifically to mean a narc or stool pigeon. Today, it’s used generally to mean a despicable person. This is part of a complete episode.

Spelunker Slang

A Hollywood entrance, in spelunker slang, is when a cave has a large, epic opening. Burkard Bilger’s epic article in The New Yorker on the world of squeeze freaks and other extreme cavers contains lots of great caving slang. This is part of a...