‘the only game in town’: meaning and origin

the only option worth considering—USA, 1904—from the story (1894) of a man who is so addicted to faro that he takes part in a game despite knowing it to be rigged, because it is the only game available in town

Read More

‘ginger group’: meaning and origin

a group within a political party or other organisation, which presses for stronger or more radical policy or action—UK, 1916—the image is of providing ‘ginger’ (i.e., vigour) in a party or organisation

Read More

‘ye gods and little fishes!’: meaning and origin

expresses indignation, disbelief or amazement—USA, 1818—expanded form of the exclamation ‘ye gods’—perhaps a reference to the miracle of the loaves and fishes fed to the five thousand in the gospel of Matthew

Read More

‘Peter Grievous’: meaning and origin

a person who whines or complains—UK, 1769, humorous—‘Peter’ is used as a generic forename, and the adjective ‘grievous’ (meaning ‘aggrieved’) is treated as a surname

Read More

‘to give a raspberry’: meanings and origin

‘raspberry’: a rude sound (suggestive of breaking wind) made by blowing with the tongue between the lips, as an expression of mockery or contempt—UK, 1888—‘raspberry’ (short for ‘raspberry tart’): rhyming slang for ‘fart’

Read More

‘Mallaby-Deeley’: meanings and origin

a cheap suit of clothes; a (cut-price) tailoring business—UK, 1920, informal—refers to Harry Mallaby-Deeley (1863-1937), a Member of Parliament who opened a cut-price tailoring business in 1920

Read More