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At Large

If a suspect is at large, he is moving about freely. The term at large, which comes to us via French from Latin, refers not to size but to distance. The phrase by and large, meaning “generally” or “on the whole,” derives from...

By And Large

The idiom by and large, an idiom commonly known to mean “in general,” actually combines two sailing terms. To sail by means you’re sailing into the wind. To sail large, means that you have the wind more or less at your back...

Three Sheets to the Wind

A wedding photographer says she happens to run into lots of people who are three sheets to the wind, and wonders why that term came to mean “falling-down drunk.” Turns out, it’s from nautical terminology. On a seagoing vessel, the...

The Bee’s Knees

Let’s put the moose on the table: You have questions, and Grant and Martha have answers. For example, why would someone have an albatross around the neck? And what’s so cool about bees’ knees, anyway? Plus, jockey boxes...