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Search The Word Detective and our family of websites: This is the easiest way to find a column on a particular word or phrase. We deeply appreciate the erudition and energy of our commenters. Your comments frequently make an invaluable contribution to the story of words and phrases in everyday usage over many years. I was just joking at the time but then began to ponder where the term actually did originate. Can you help? It sounds like fun. But is the room supposed to tilt like this? My feet feel funny. Why is the cat looking at me that way?