Month: July 2015

heavens to Murgatroyd

An exclamation of surprise, similar to ‘heavens to Betsy.’ This American phrase dates from the mid 20th century and was popularized by the cartoon character Snagglepuss – a regular on the Yogi Bear Show in the 1960s. The first known use of the phrase, however, comes before that, from the 1944 film Meet the People. It was spoken by Bert…

heavens to Betsy

This mild exclamation of surprise is an old expression, one I haven’t heard years. The earliest use of it found in print is from the US journal Ballou’s dollar monthly magazine, January 1857. It was also used in an 1878 issue of Harper’s New Monthly Magazine and again in a short story collection, Huckleberries Gathered From New England Hills (1892).…

black sheep

This term usually means a disreputable or disgraced member of a family. It may also refer to someone who is rebellious and doesn’t conform to the ethics, morals, beliefs, or even the dress code of a particular group. The individual is typically labeled as a troublemaker. Why sheep? Badgers, dolphins, pandas and penguins are all primarily black, but are considered…

Busy as a beaver revisited

A reader commented on my June 24, 2015 post “Busy as a Beaver.” She said, “And what of the – possibly rural – myth that beavers have to keep gnawing on wood because if they stopped, their teeth would keep growing until one sad day, they’d have to slurp their food through a straw? Dear Researcher, can you please dig…