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Selling Wolf Tickets

If you’re selling wolf tickets (or woof tickets), you’re not being truthful. The expression may arise from the old story about the boy who cried Wolf! when in fact there was none around. This is part of a complete episode.

Have a Wolf by the Ears

Stephanie in Green Bay, Wisconsin, was puzzled when a colleague used the expression like grabbing a wolf by the ears to describe an impossible task. Like the idiom to have a tiger by the tail, it suggests the paralyzing difficulty of having hold of...

Origin of Wolf Whistle

We all know that lusty two-note whistle directed at an attractive passerby. But how did that particular sound come about? If we trace the earliest record of that sound, known as a “wolf whistle,” we find this 1943 Tex Avery cartoon. This...

Wolf Tickets

To sell woof tickets, or wolf tickets, is African-American slang meaning “to threaten in a boastful manner.” Geneva Smitherman, a professor at Michigan State University who’s studied the term, believes it has its origins in the...

hoodling

hoodling  n.— «Dr. Wolf: “What is hoodling?” Mr. Ferrell: “That’s it, hoodling (demonstrates “Possum in a pawpaw patch, picking up pawpaws and putting them in his pocket.”).” Dr. Wolf: “That’s...

cardinal

cardinal  n.— «The 57-year-old Wolf is a so-called cardinal on Capitol Hill, the term for chairmen of subcommittees of the House Appropriations Committee.» —“‘Safe’ Wolf Was ‘Present’ ” by Peter Hardin Richmond Times...

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