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on Sat Oct 03 2015, 09:01
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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.


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on Sun May 08 2016, 09:18
Meaning

Keep up with the jonses.Strive to match one's neighbours in spending and social standing.

This term is 20th century American. It originated with Arthur (Pop) Momand's Keep Up With The Joneses comic strip in the New York Globe. The strip was first published in 1913 and became popular quite quickly. By September 1915, a cartoon film of the same name was touring US cinemas.

The 'Joneses' in the cartoon weren't based on anyone in particular, and they weren't portrayed in the cartoon itself. Jones was a very common name and 'the Joneses' was merely a generic name for 'the neighbours


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on Sun May 08 2016, 10:58
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on Sun May 22 2016, 09:20
Play silly buggers

The esteemed lexicographer Eric Partridge both defined and dated this British slang expression in the 1961 edition of the Dictionary of Slang:

Silly buggers, play, to indulge in provocative horse-play; hence, to feign stupidity: low: since ca. 1920.

As is usually the case with Partridge, he gives no supporting evidence for the date and I can't find any actual examples of the phrase in print before the 1960s, even in its bowdlerised form of 'play silly beggars'.
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on Sun May 22 2016, 09:48
An slavoury duck in the hand is worth two in the bush.

Oh no...

Exit stage right......TAXI..!!!
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on Sun May 29 2016, 09:06

O ye, of little faith


This is the rebuke levelled at the disciples of Christ, when seeming to doubt his divinity. The phrase is also more widely used to describe any Christian doubter. In a secular setting it may be intended as a humorous jibe when doubting someone's abilities.

In the 17th century, the people that we would now call atheists were called nullfidians. The state of insufficient faith was also of common enough interest to be given a name - petty fidianism. John Trapp, in his Commentary on the Gospel of Matthew, 1647, recorded the term:

"O ye of little faith. Ye petty fidians; He calleth them not nullifidians."
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on Sun Jul 31 2016, 08:44
The best laid schemes of mice and men

more like this...
...other phrases about:
Animals
Meaning

The most carefully prepared plans may go wrong.

Origin

From Robert Burns' poem To a Mouse, 1786. It tells of how he, while ploughing a field, upturned a mouse's nest. The resulting poem is an apology to the mouse:

of mice and men...
But, Mousie, thou art no thy lane [you aren't alone]
In proving foresight may be vain:
The best laid schemes o' mice an' men
Gang aft a-gley, [often go awry]
An' lea'e us nought but grief an' pain,
For promised joy.
...

The poem is of course the source for the title of John Steinbeck's 1937 novel - Of Mice and Men.
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on Mon Sep 12 2016, 12:00

Burst Your Bubble

To ruin someone's happy moment or mood, usually by telling them disappointing news or information.
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on Mon Sep 12 2016, 12:03
wait in the wings

If someone or something is waiting in the wings, they are not yet active or important, but are ready or likely to be so soon:


The expression refers to theater productions where people wait for their turn to come on stage. The term wings refers to the backstage production area.

The phrase itself means in the background and available on short notice. Very Happy
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on Mon Sep 19 2016, 11:58
All things come to he who waits


A literal meaning, advocating patience.


Used, but probably not originated, by Violet Fane (1843-1905) in her poem Tout vient ß qui sait attendre.

'Ah, all things come to those who wait,'
(I say these words to make me glad),
But something answers soft and sad,
'They come, but often come too late.'
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on Fri Nov 11 2016, 13:38
Whipper snapper

'Whipper snapper' is now a rather archaic term and, although you might hear it in black and white British films, those who are young and streetwise enough to actually be whipper snappers aren't likely to use it.

Whipper snapper'Whipper snappers' were known by various names, all of them derived from the habit of young layabouts of hanging around snapping whips to pass the time. Originally these ne'er-do-wells were known simply, and without any great linguistic imagination, as 'whip snappers'. This term merged with an existing 17th century term for street rogues - 'snipper snappers', to become 'whipper snapper'. Christopher Marlowe mentions 'snipper snapper' in the 1604 edition of The Tragicall History of Doctor Faustus, when referring to a 'hey-pass', which is what street jugglers were known as in Marlowe's day.

But I'll seeke out my Doctor... O yonder is his snipper snapper... You, hey-pass, where's your master?

The meaning of 'whipper snapper' has altered over the years, originally referring to a young man with no apparent get up and go, to be applied to a youngster with an excess of both ambition and impudence.
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on Sat Nov 19 2016, 14:54
Taking the Mickey


There are various forms of this: take/extract the Mick/Mickey/Michael, although the 'take the Mickey' version is most often used in print.
It is sometimes reported that the phrase originates as a variant of the slang phrase 'take the piss' and the the 'Mickey' refers to micturate. This seems rather fanciful and there's no evidence to support that view. It is now more generally accepted that the phrase came about as rhyming slang. 'Taking the piss' does play its part as the rhyming slang refers to a (yet to be identified) character called Mickey Bliss. So, 'taking the piss' became 'taking the Mickey Bliss' and then just 'taking the Mickey'. An early citation of the longer form 'taking the Mickey Bliss' would be useful here, but I've not come across one.

Who or what was Mickey?

Taking the piss is reported as originating in the UK in the 1930s and 'taking the Mickey' probably came not long afterwards. The first form of the phrase in print - as 'take the mike' - comes from 1935, in George Ingram's Cockney Cavalcade:
"He wouldn't let Pancake 'take the mike' out of him."
The precise wording - 'take the Mickey' doesn't appear in print until a few years later. The earliest I've found as yet is in J. Henry's Who lie in Gaol, 1952:
"She's a terror. I expect she'll try and take the mickey out of you all right. Don't you stand for nothin'."


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on Sun Nov 27 2016, 09:12
Lackadaisical

Meaning

In a listless, languid manner; without interest. .


Lackadaisical may now be a single word but, in its original form, it derived from a phrase, albeit by a circuitous route. The phrase in question is 'alack a day' or 'alack the day'. It was used first by Shakespeare in Romeo and Juliet, 1592, on Romeo's mistaken belief that Juliet had died:
Shee's dead, deceast, shee's dead: alacke the day!
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on Wed Dec 07 2016, 09:13
Save one's bacon


Escape from injury; avoid harm, especially to one's body.

By bacon, we now normally mean the cured and dried meat taken from the back or sides of a pig. To the mediaeval mind, 'bacon' was meat from anywhere on the body of the animal - more akin to what we now call pork. This was the origin of the slang term 'bacon' meaning the human body. 'Saving your bacon' was simply saving your body from harm. The expression was used that way as early as the 17th century as, for example, this extract from Ireland's Momus Elenticus, 1654
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on Fri Dec 09 2016, 18:57
A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush

Meaning
It's better to have a lesser but certain advantage than the possibility of a greater one that may come to nothing.
Origin
This proverb refers back to mediaeval falconry where a bird in the hand (the falcon) was a valuable asset and certainly worth more than two in the bush (the prey).
The first citation of the expression in print in its currently used form is found in John Ray's A Hand-book of Proverbs, 1670, in which he lists it as:
A [also 'one'] bird in the hand is worth two in the bush
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on Fri Dec 09 2016, 18:58
RUBBISH....!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


I would rather have two birds in the bushes than one in the hand............  Phrases  their meanings and origins - Page 4 709307421  Phrases  their meanings and origins - Page 4 1410141470
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on Fri Dec 09 2016, 19:21
Who invented "Toss-Pot"?  and is it a Wiganism?   Very Happy
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on Fri Dec 09 2016, 19:29
Tosspot is a British English insult, used to refer to a stupid or contemptible person, or a drunkard.[1][2]

Wiki pedia.

Notice the 'British English'....Arghhhhhhhhhh
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on Mon Jan 02 2017, 21:54
Have we got any seafarers among the WR posters that can verify this

All at sea

In a state of confusion and disorder.
Origin
This is an extension of the nautical phrase 'at sea'. It dates from the days of sail when accurate navigational aids weren't available. Any ship that was out of sight of land was in an uncertain position and in danger of becoming lost.
'At sea' has been in use since the 18th century, as here, in Sir William Blackstone's Commentaries on the laws of England, 1768:
"If a court of equity were still at sea, and floated upon the occasional opinion which the judge who happened to preside might entertain of conscience in every particular case."
The earliest reference to 'all at sea' in print that I can find is from Travel and adventure in south-east Africa, 1893, by Frederick C. Selous:
"I was rather surprised to find that he seemed all at sea, and had no one ready to go with me."


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on Mon Jan 02 2017, 22:35
I've lost me moral compass, so can't help.
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on Mon Jan 02 2017, 23:14
and I am a land lubber....sorreeeeeeeeee.... Sad
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on Sun Jan 22 2017, 09:01
The best laid plans of mice and men

Meaning
The most carefully prepared plans may go wrong.
Origin
From Robert Burns' poem To a Mouse, 1786. It tells of how he, while ploughing a field, upturned a mouse's nest. The resulting poem is an apology to the mouse:
...
But, Mousie, thou art no thy lane [you aren't alone]
In proving foresight may be vain:
The best laid schemes o' mice an' men
Gang aft a-gley, [often go awry]
An' lea'e us nought but grief an' pain,
For promised joy.
...
The poem is of course the source for the title of John Steinbeck's 1937 novel - Of Mice and Men.
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on Sun Jan 22 2017, 13:05
"The higher the monkey climbs the more you can see its arse".

Which translates as, the further an unsuitable person is promoted, the more obvious his inadequacies become.
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on Sun Jan 22 2017, 13:41
Yet more bottomage...!!!!
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on Sun Feb 05 2017, 10:30

"Clod-hopper, a Ploughman."

It was usually used, as a term of derision, by townspeople at the expense of muddy booted yokels - much in the way the 'bog-trotter' is now used to defame the rural Irish.

Since the early 19th century, in the UK and USA, 'clod-hoppers' were also the name given to ploughmen's boots.
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on Mon Feb 13 2017, 15:16
go all round the houses 
to waste time saying a lot of things that are not important before you get to the subject you want to talk about There's no need to go all round the houses, just tell me straight out what's wrong. Very Happy
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