the whole kit and caboodle

In a recent email, a friend wrote this slang phrase as “kitten caboodle.” I like that a lot, but knew of the original version, and that motivated me to find out where it came from. It means everything, entirely, the whole collection. The phrase was first recorded in that form in 1884. Most of the similar phrases originate in the…

stone soup

Yesterday I mentioned to a friend that I needed to water my rock garden. She said, “So when the rocks ripen, are you going to make stone soup? Ha ha.” My education has obviously been neglected, because I’d never heard of stone soup. But Mr. Google soon remedied that. Stone Soup is an old folk tale in which hungry strangers…

time flies when you’re having fun

That means that sometimes time seems to pass surprisingly quickly. The idea was first expressed by Virgil (70-19 BCE), who wrote in the Aeneid: “Fugit inreparabile tempus” which translates as ‘Time is flying never to return.’ (Random House Dictionary of Popular Proverbs and Sayings by Gregory Y. Titelman) It also appeared in England in 1386 in Chaucer’s Prologue to the…

one-armed bandit

This is a casino gambling machine with three or more reels which spin when a button is pushed, otherwise generally called a slot machine (because of the slots where coins are inserted). Slot machines are the most popular gambling method in casinos and constitute about 70 percent of the average US casino’s income. Slot machines are known as one-armed bandits…

even-steven

This means basically the same thing as “even” — having no balance of debt on either side; even in the setting of accounts, having an equal chance or score; tied. This colloquial phrase is a colorful way to talk about whether a deal or scenario is fair. And it’s more fun to use rhyming slang than a straightforward simple word.…

red letter day

A red letter day (sometimes hyphenated as red-letter day or called scarlet day in academia) is any day of special significance.  Its roots are in classical antiquity. For instance, important days are indicated in red in a calendar dating from the Roman Republic (509–27 BCE). In medieval manuscripts, initial capitals and highlighted words (known as rubrics) were written in red…

spreading the love

The Urban Dictionary says that phrase means getting stinking drunk. All other sources take the words seriously and define it as being nice to people in some way. I’m going to interpret it the second way. I decided that if I charge a little less than half what I started out charging for Charger the Soldier ($6.99) I’ll probably sell…

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