origin of ‘geek’

19th century, northern England—apparently a variant of ‘geck’, of Germanic origin, meaning ‘a fool’, ‘a dupe’, ‘an oaf’

Read More

origin of ‘up the river’ (to prison)

US, 19th cent.—‘to send up the river’ (to send to prison)—originally referred to Sing Sing prison, situated up the Hudson River from the city of New York

Read More

the long history of ‘blues’

‘blues’—from ‘blue’ (‘sorrowful’) and elliptically from ‘blue devils’ (‘depression’)—originally a metaphorical use of ‘blue’ (‘bruised’), as in ‘black and blue’

Read More