padoodle

padoodle (USA): exclamation shouted by a person who spots a car with only one working headlight, which entitles this person to kiss or hit someone else

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origin of ‘pink’

The noun ‘pink’ for the flower is perhaps short for ‘pink eye’, ‘small or half-shut eye’ (cf. French ‘œillet’, ‘carnation’, diminutive of ‘œil’, ‘eye’).

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esprit d’escalier

The expression ‘esprit d’escalier’, ‘wit of the staircase’, originally referred to a witty remark coming to mind on the stairs leading away from a gathering.

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pigs might fly

The original form of this phrase was ‘pigs fly with their tails forward’. Also: the French, Italian, Portuguese and Spanish equivalent expressions.

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the various meanings of ‘earthling’

Before being a science-fiction term used by aliens to refer to an inhabitant of the earth, ‘earthling’ denoted an inhabitant of the earth as opposed to heaven.

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‘Scouse’ (Liverpudlian)

The original sense of ‘Scouse’, denoting a person from Liverpool, is ‘a stew’. The word ‘scouse’ is in turn a shortening of ‘lobscouse’, of obscure origin.

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Yorkshire tyke

The word ‘tyke’, a nickname for a person from Yorkshire, originally meant ‘mongrel’. The people from Yorkshire have adopted it as a term of self-reference.

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over the top

‘Over the top’, which means ‘excessive’, originated as a WWI expression meaning ‘over the parapet of a trench and into battle’.

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sot-l’y-laisse

The French word for the oyster-shaped piece of meat in the hollow of the pelvic bone of a fowl is ‘sot-l’y-laisse’, literally ‘(the) fool leaves it there’.

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(with) tongue in cheek

The phrase ‘(with) tongue in cheek’ originally referred to a sign of contempt or derision consisting in sticking one’s tongue in one’s cheek.

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