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8 Old-Timey Ways to Say ‘No Way’

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Feeling over committed? Need a better way to say "no"? Aside from using “don’t" instead of “can’t,” here are eight fun and old-timey ways you can say, “No way.”

1. NOT IN THESE TROUSERS

The next time you want to say, “Certainly not!” you can say, “Not in these trousers!” The earliest citation in the Oxford English Dictionary (OED) of this British English saying is from 1920 in Realities of War by Philip Gibbs: “‘Come up and have a look, Jack,’ he said to one of the blue-jackets. ‘Not in these trousers, old mate!’ said that young man.”

2. NOT ON YOUR TINTYPE

A slightly older U.S. colloquialism—the OED’s earliest record is from 1900—World Wide Words says not on your tintype originated when tintype photography was popular and is based on the 18th century phrase, not on your life.

3. NOT ON YOUR NELLY

Not on your Nelly is a shortened version of Not on your Nelly Duff. According to The Virtual Linguist, Nelly Duff is Cockney rhyming slang for puff, which in this context means “life” or “span of life.” The blogger also mentions another puff phrase, in (all) one's (born) puff, which is chiefly used in negative contexts and means “in a person's experience, in all a person's life.” So why does puff mean “life”? Presumably because it also means “breath.” Not on your Nelly Duff is from 1941, according to the OED, while Not on your Nelly is from 1959.

4. NEVER A FIG

This idiom meaning “not at all” is from the 16th century. Back then, according to the OED, figs were equated with anything “small, valueless, or contemptible,” hence other figgy expressions such as not giving or caring a fig about something. Giving the fig, on the other hand, is a disdainful gesture that resembles the U.S.-centric "I got your nose!" The OED says another name for the gesture is fig of Spain, which also refers to a poisoned fig used to destroy an obnoxious person. Which came first, the insulting hand signal or the toxic fruit, isn't clear.

5. AIKONA

Aikona can mean “no, not any, not” and can also be used as an emphatic “certainly not,” “never,” and “no way!” It’s a South African colloquialism and comes from Fanakalo, a lingua franca developed and used by mining companies in Southern Africa. Fanakalo is composed of elements from Nguni languages, English, and Afrikaans.

6. NIXIE

Nixie is another “Certainly not!” variation you might want to add to your vocabulary. A blend of nix, meaning “not possibly, not at all,” and the suffix -y, its earliest usage in the OED is from 1886.

7. ON (AT) THE GREEK CALENDS

If you prefer to stump people, you can say, “On the Greek calends” when you mean “never.” The OED says it’s “humorous” because the ancient Greeks didn’t use a calends—that is, a first of the month—in how they tracked time. Hilarious! The phrase originated around 1649: “That Gold, Plate, and all Silver given to the Mint-House in these late Troubles, shall be paid at the Greek Kalends.”

8. NOT IN A WEEK OF SUNDAYS

A week of Sundays is, of course, seven Sundays, or seven weeks, and therefore a long or undetermined length of time. If you want to be extra emphatic about saying “Never!” you can also use, “Not in a month of Sundays,” which is a really long, seemingly endless amount of time.

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Animals
Fisherman Catches Rare Blue Lobster, Donates It to Science
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FRED TANNEAU/AFP/Getty Images

Live lobsters caught off the New England coast are typically brown, olive-green, or gray—which is why one New Hampshire fisherman was stunned when he snagged a blue one in mid-July.

As The Independent reports, Greg Ward, from Rye, New Hampshire, discovered the unusual lobster while examining his catch near the New Hampshire-Maine border. Ward initially thought the pale crustacean was an albino lobster, which some experts estimate to be a one-in-100-million discovery. However, a closer inspection revealed that the lobster's hard shell was blue and cream.

"This one was not all the way white and not all the way blue," Ward told The Portsmouth Herald. "I've never seen anything like it."

While not as rare as an albino lobster, blue lobsters are still a famously elusive catch: It's said that the odds of their occurrence are an estimated one in two million, although nobody knows the exact numbers.

Instead of eating the blue lobster, Ward decided to donate it to the Seacoast Science Center in Rye. There, it will be studied and displayed in a lobster tank with other unusually colored critters, including a second blue lobster, a bright orange lobster, and a calico-spotted lobster.

[h/t The Telegraph]

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Animals
Australian Scientists Discover First New Species of Sunfish in 125 Years
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Courtesy Murdoch University

Scientists have pinpointed a whole new species of the largest bony fish in the world, the massive sunfish, as we learned from Smithsonian magazine. It's the first new species of sunfish proposed in more than 125 years.

As the researchers report in the Zoological Journal of the Linnean Society, the genetic differences between the newly named hoodwinker sunfish (Mola tecta) and its other sunfish brethren was confirmed by data on 27 different samples of the species collected over the course of three years. Since sunfish are so massive—the biggest can weigh as much as 5000 pounds—they pose a challenge to preserve and store, even for museums with large research collections. Lead author Marianne Nyegaard of Murdoch University in Australia traveled thousands of miles to find and collected genetic data on sunfish stranded on beaches. At one point, she was asked if she would be bringing her own crane to collect one.

Nyegaard also went back through scientific literature dating back to the 1500s, sorting through descriptions of sea monsters and mermen to see if any of the documentation sounded like observations of the hoodwinker. "We retraced the steps of early naturalists and taxonomists to understand how such a large fish could have evaded discovery all this time," she said in a press statement. "Overall, we felt science had been repeatedly tricked by this cheeky species, which is why we named it the 'hoodwinker.'"

Japanese researchers first detected genetic differences between previously known sunfish and a new, unknown species 10 years ago, and this confirms the existence of a whole different type from species like the Mola mola or Mola ramsayi.

Mola tecta looks a little different from other sunfish, with a more slender body. As it grows, it doesn't develop the protruding snout or bumps that other sunfish exhibit. Similarly to the others, though, it can reach a length of 8 feet or more. 

Based on the stomach contents of some of the specimens studied, the hoodwinker likely feeds on salps, a jellyfish-like creature that it probably chomps on (yes, sunfish have teeth) during deep dives. The species has been found near New Zealand, Australia, South Africa, and southern Chile.

[h/t Smithsonian]

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