origin of ‘according to Hoyle’

‘according to Hoyle’: according to plan or the rules—early 19th century: from the name of Edmond Hoyle (1672-1769), English writer on card games

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origin of ‘neither fish nor fowl’

Origin: for purposes of fasting, food was divided into categories – ‘fish’, the flesh of fish, ‘flesh’, the flesh of land-animals, ‘fowl’, the flesh of birds.

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origin of ‘to cut a caper’

‘caper’: probably abbreviation of ‘cabriole’, from Italian ‘capriola’, literally ‘female roe deer’, from Latin ‘capreola’, ‘wild goat’, from ‘capra’, she-goat

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betwixt and between

‘betwixt and between’, late 18th century—not fully or properly either of two things, in an intermediate or middling position

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origin of ‘castles in Spain’

In French medieval chansons de geste ‘castles in Spain’ denoted fiefs that had to be conquered from the Saracens by the knights to whom they had been granted.

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carrot and stick

early 20th century—refers to the method of tempting a donkey to move forward by dangling a carrot before it, and beating it with a stick if it refuses

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origin of ‘to walk one’s chalks’

to go off—19th cent.—from a procedure consisting in making a person walk on a straight line drawn with chalk in order to establish whether they are inebriated

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origin of ‘by a long chalk’

‘by a long chalk’: in a great degree, by far — 19th century, from the practice of using chalk to mark up the points scored in a game

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‘adultescent’ and its synonyms

blend of ‘adult’ and ‘adolescent’: adult who has retained the interests, behaviour or lifestyle of adolescence — origin USA, first attested in 1945

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origin of ‘out of the blue’

from ‘a bolt out of the blue’, denoting a sudden and unexpected event, with reference to the unlikelihood of a thunderbolt coming from a clear blue sky

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