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 Phrases  their meanings and origins - Page 5 Empty Phrases their meanings and origins

on Sat Oct 03 2015, 09:01
First topic message reminder :

Scot Free.

Meaning

Without incurring payment; or escaping without punishment.

Could this be the origin

Dred Scott was a black slave born in Virginia, USA in 1799. In several celebrated court cases, right up to the USA Supreme Court in 1857, he attempted to gain his freedom. These cases all failed but Scott was later made a free man by his so-called owners, the Blow family. Knowing this, we might feel that we don't need to look further for the origin of 'scott free'. Many people, especially in the USA, are convinced that the phrase originated with the story of Dred Scott.


Last edited by Admin on Wed Jan 13 2016, 11:11; edited 3 times in total

mache
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on Tue Feb 14 2017, 14:55
^^^^^just tell me straight out what's wrong^^^^^


What! and let the cat out of the bag
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on Thu Feb 16 2017, 17:18
Cleavage


the narrow space between a woman's breasts, that is seen when she wears a piece of clothing that does not cover the top of them:


I don't like spaces



a critical division in opinion, beliefs, interests, etc., as leading to opposition between two groups:



I don't like Diane Abbott
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on Thu Mar 16 2017, 22:01
By the short hairs

To be 'caught/got/held by the short hairs', or in the UK equivalent '... by the short and curlies', is to be trapped by an opponent in a position one can't easily escape from.
The short hairs in question are the hairs of the neck.
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on Thu Mar 16 2017, 22:07
Just shows how you can be sooooo wrong. I always thought they were different short and curlies. Embarassed Embarassed Embarassed
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on Wed Mar 22 2017, 21:39
be like a spare prick at a wedding  (British taboo, humorous)
to feel silly because you are present at an event but no one needs you and no one is talking to you
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on Wed Apr 19 2017, 18:38
Tits up

This is a 20th century phrase, probably of military origin. There's certainly no mention of it in print prior to WWII. It has been suggested that the term derives from the behaviour of aeroplanes' altitude indicators, which turn upside down when faulty and display an inverted 'W' resembling a pair of breasts. There's no real evidence to support this speculation and it seems more likely that the phrase is just a vulgar alternative to the earlier 'belly-up', which has the same meaning.
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on Wed Apr 19 2017, 18:41
I wonder if this belongs on  Intercourse? Quizzes, puzzles and knowledge? Very Happy Very Happy
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on Wed Apr 19 2017, 18:52
@Admin wrote:be like a spare prick at a wedding  (British taboo, humorous)
to feel silly because you are present at an event but no one needs you and no one is talking to you


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on Tue Apr 25 2017, 14:04
Embarassed Very Happy Embarassed Very Happy

Even at the turning of the tide

The 'turning of the tide' is literally the change of the tide from incoming to outgoing, or vice-versa. Normally the phrase is used to denote some change from a previously stable course of events.

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on Sun May 14 2017, 09:34
Shoe-in
Correct version: "Shoo-in"
A 'shoo-in' is a venture that is certain to be accomplished. A horse that is expected to be a sure winner (by cheating or otherwise) might be described as a shoo-in. This is an allusion to the common meaning of 'shoo', that is, to drive a hen or other animal in a certain direction by the waving of one's arms and calling 'shoo!'. This is pretty easy work - unless the creature is a cat of course.
As 'shoo-in' and 'shoe-in' sound the same and it is easy to understand why the 'shoe' version came to appear in print from time to time. There's the allusion to door-to-door salesmen who might aim to get a sale by putting a shoe in the door. Also, there may have been a link to shoe-horns, which are used to make it easier to put one's shoes on.
Nevertheless, there isn't any connection between this expression and shoes.
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on Sun Jul 02 2017, 09:30
A riddle wrapped up in an enigma

A puzzle - difficult to solve.

A form of Winston Churchill's quotation, made in a radio broadcast in October 1939:
"I cannot forecast to you the action of Russia. It is a riddle, wrapped in a mystery, inside an enigma; but perhaps there is a key. That key is Russian national interest."
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on Sun Jul 23 2017, 10:13
A norange

In 1914 the Danish grammarian Otto Jespersen coined the term 'metanalysis'. That's rather a dry start to a piece on what is a lively and intriguing facet of the English language. To find out what prompted Jespersen to believe that we needed a new word, let's bring in a stage prop - the humble orange.
Many sources will tell you that oranges were originally called 'noranges' and that 'a norange' migrated to being called 'an orange'. Well, like so much folk etymology, that's not true, but there is a germ of truth in it - there never has been a word 'norange' in English, but there very nearly was.
The climate in England doesn't qualify it as an orange-growing area and the fruit were first imported there in the 14th century. Oranges originated in South-east Asia and when they arrived in Persia and Spain they were given the names 'narang' and 'naranja' respectively. As they got nearer to England, and hence nearer to requiring a name in English, they lost the 'n'. This happened on their journey through France, where they were known as 'pomme d'orenge'.
In English, the indefinite article may be 'a' or 'an', depending on whether it is followed by a word which starts with a consonant or a vowel. When the consonant is an 'n', we may run into the 'a norange'/'an orange' confusion. It was this displacement of a letter from one word to another that Jespersen took an interest in and named 'metanalysis'. medieval words like 'a napperon', 'a nuncle' and 'a nadder' could easily be confused in everyday speech with 'an apron', 'an uncle' and 'an adder' - and they were. The earlier forms aren't now used.
The misaligning of word boundaries can go the other way too, with the 'n' being added rather than lost. The best known examples of that are 'nickname' and 'newt', which were originally 'an eke-name' and 'an ewt'.
It's easy for us to see these examples now as errors, but bear in mind that the changing of words based on confusion about where words start and end took place before dictionaries or even printing and reading were commonplace. When we come across new words now it is just as likely that we see them in print as to hear them spoken. If we had to rely on speech alone we might now be coining mutations like 'an erd' or 'a Niphone'
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on Sun Jul 23 2017, 10:40
I wonder where the phrase "bugger off" comes from clown
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on Mon Jul 31 2017, 11:02
Give yer ead a wobble

Have a re think Very Happy
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on Sun Sep 17 2017, 09:20
Why does bread always fall buttered side down?

"The 'buttered-side down' scenario is often cited as an example of Murphy's Law, or Sod's Law, that is, 'if anything can go wrong, it will'. In fact, it is a 19th century phrase/notion and long pre-dates Murphy, who was (probably) an American aerospace engineer and is credited with coining his 'law' in the late 1940s.
The Knickerbocker; or, New York Monthly Magazine published this little ditty in 1835"

I never had a slice of bread,
Particularly large and wide,
That did not fall upon the floor,
And always on the buttered side!
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on Fri Nov 10 2017, 15:09
Softly softly and carry a big stick

A proverb advising the tactic of caution and non-aggression, backed up by the ability to do violence if required.

The notion being expressed here is the opposite of the tactics employed by every temporary schoolteacher - who begin stern and tough and, when discipline allows it, become more easy-going. The 'speak softly...' doctrine, like the earlier phrase 'the iron fist in the velvet glove', was to begin gently, but hold a decisive weapon in reserve.
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on Sat Nov 11 2017, 18:36
The Real McCoy is an idiom or metaphor used in the English speaking world to mean
‘the real thing’ or ‘the genuine article’.

The phrase has been the subject of numerous false etymologies and attributions.

Here are a couple:-

The phrase has been associated with Elijah McCoy’s oil drip lubricator invention of 1872
which was used to oil train wheels.
The theory is that railroad engineers looking to avoid inferior copies would request it by name, inquiring if a lubricator was 'the real McCoy’.

OR

The phrase "The real McCoy" may be a corruption of the Scots "The real MacKay", first recorded in 1856 as: "A drappie o' the real McKay," (A drop of the real MacKay).
This appeared in a poem Deil's Hallowe'en published in Glasgow and is widely accepted as the phrase's origin.
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on Mon Nov 27 2017, 22:42
San Fairy Ann.

A deliberate jokey corruption of the French phrase 'a ne fait rien' - it doesn't matter
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on Thu Dec 21 2017, 09:51
"A Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to You" was printed on the first Christmas card.

Since then the billions of cards that have been sent almost all contain a printed verse. Many of these are culled from religious or sentimental texts, notably from Victorian authors such as Charles Dickens.

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on Mon Jan 29 2018, 08:59
Mad as a box of frogs.

Anyone know where this came from?
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on Mon Jan 29 2018, 11:45
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on Mon Jan 29 2018, 11:56
 Phrases  their meanings and origins - Page 5 Onion_10
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on Mon Jan 29 2018, 11:58
^^^^^^^^

They look rather Seine.

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on Mon Jan 29 2018, 11:59

See what I did there? SEINE

HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA


Please yourselves. Embarassed
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on Mon Jan 29 2018, 12:04
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