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Episode 1577

Mystery Date

A librarian opens a book and finds a mysterious invitation scribbled on the back of a business card. Another discovers a child’s letter to the Tooth Fairy, tucked into a book decades ago. What stories are left untold by these forgotten...

Episode 1555

Mystery Drawer

Amid court-ordered busing in the 1970s, a middle-school teacher tried to distract her nervous students on the first day of class with this strange assignment: find a monarch caterpillar. The result? A memorable lesson in the miracle of metamorphosis...

Case Quarter in South Carolina

Jennifer in Andrews, South Carolina, is curious about the term case quarter, meaning “a single 25-cent coin — not two dimes and a nickel and not five nickels.” It’s heard mainly in South Carolina, particularly among African...

“Nebby” Means “Nosy”

The term nebby, meaning meddlesome or nosy, literally derives from the word neb, or “nose,” a term that’s been around in English for more than a thousand years. Despite what you might guess, nebby is unrelated to the Yiddish word...

Episode 1524

Kite in a Phone Booth

Stunt performers in movies have their own jargon for talking about their dangerous work. In New York City, the slang term brick means “cold,” and dumb brick means “really cold.” Plus: the East and Central African tradition...

Go Fry Ice

Kathleen from Ithaca, New York, remembers her mother saying Go fry ice! meaning “Bug off!” It’s probably a minced oath replacing a phrase that exhorts the hearer to go do something else that starts with F. The earliest known...