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Phrase Origins

Tongue Twisters: She Sells Sea Shells…

She sells seashells on the seashore The shells she sells are seashells, I’m sure So if she sells seashells on the seashore Then I’m sure she sells...

Who Said That?: A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words

The popular phrase “A picture is worth a thousand words,” meaning a single image can convey a complex idea or story, was introduced in...

New Phrases: Recombobulation Area

Milwaukee’s Mitchell International Airport coined a new phrase with their “Recombobulation Area” – a play on the word “discombobulate” meaning “to throw into a...

Phrase Origins: Hair of the Dog

“Hair of the dog that bit you” is a colloquial expression most commonly used to refer to alcohol that is consumed to lessen the...

Phrase Origins: Raining Cats and Dogs

There are numerous guesses at the origin of the popular phrase “It’s raining cats and dogs”, none of which can be said to be...

Idioms: Heebie Jeebies

The term Heebie Jeebies (meaning a feeling of nervousness, fright, or worry, or having the jitters) is widely attributed to cartoonist Billie DeBeck (1890-1942) who also...

Dilemmas: Morton’s Fork

A Morton’s Fork is a choice between two equally unpleasant alternatives, or two lines of reasoning that lead to the same unpleasant conclusion. It is analogous...

Art For Art’s Sake

“Art for art’s sake” is the English version of a French slogan, from the early 19th century, ”l’art pour l’art” , and expresses a philosophy...