alphabetical index

A – B – C – D – E – FGHIJK – L – M – N – O – P – Q – R – S – T – U – V – W – X – Y – Znumeralsmiscellany

A
a/an (indefinite article)
A1
a bad quarter of an hour
a baker’s dozen
a bastard on Father’s Day
abdabs, or habdabs (to give somebody the (screaming) abdabs, or habdabs)
a bit tight under the arms
above board
above/below the salt
a box of birds
a bull in a china shop
ACAB (all coppers are bastards)
a calf’s head is best hot
a cat may look at a king
accident (an accident waiting to happen)
accidents will happen in the best-regulated families
according to Cocker
according to Gunter
according to Hoyle
ache
a Chinaman’s chance
a chip on one’s shoulder
a cold day in hell
a cold day in July
to act one’s age, and not one’s shoe size
actress (as the actress said to the bishop – as the bishop said to the actress)
a cup of tea, a Bex and a good lie down
Adam and Eve (to believe)
adder (deaf as an adder)
admirable Crichton
ado
adorkable
a dose of salts
adultescent
aerial ping-pong
a far cry
a fart in a spacesuit
a fly in the ointment
a foot in both camps
a fox in a forest fire
after the Lord Mayor’s Show (comes the dung-cart)
Aga saga
age (to act one’s age, and not one’s shoe size)
age before beauty
agony aunt – agony column
a grape on the business
a green, or hot, Christmas, or winter, makes a fat churchyard
ailurophile
aisle (to have people rolling in the aisles)
a Jap on Anzac Day
Ajax
alar(u)ms and excursions
Alas! my poor brother
Albany doctor
albatross (an albatross around one’s neck)
Albion
alcoholiday
a legend in one’s (own) lifetime
a legend in one’s (own) lunchtime
Alexandra curl
Alexandra limp
a little bird told me
alive and kicking
alive and well (and living in ——)
all behind, like a cow’s tail
all chiefs and no Indians
all-dancing, all-singing
all dressed up with nowhere to go
all duck or no dinner
All-Hallown Summer
all hat and no cattle
all Lombard Street to a China orange
all mouth and (no) trousers
all my eye and Betty Martin
all of a tiswas
all one’s Christmases come at once
all over bar the shouting
all over the place like a mad woman’s [+ noun]
all over the shop
all right, you heard a seal bark
all roads lead to Rome
(all) round the houses
all-singing, all-dancing
all Sir Garnet
(all) the world and his wife
all wool and a yard wide
a load of cobblers
alone
a man’s gotta do what a man’s gotta do
a memory like a sieve
(as) American as apple pie
am I bovvered?
a mind like a sieve
a millstone round someone’s neck
amour fou
to amputate one’s mahogany
an/a (indefinite article)
an accident waiting to happen
an albatross around one’s neck
a nasty piece of work
an axe to grind
and not a bone in the truck
and so to bed
an egg yesterday and a feather-duster tomorrow
an Englishman’s home is his castle
an old Spanish custom
(and) the best of British luck
angel (on the side of the angels)
Annie’s room (up in Annie’s room)
annulaire – ring finger
a nod is as good as a wink
another brick in the wall
another pair of shoes
the answer to a maidens’ prayer
the ant’s pants
antwacky
any man who hates children and dogs can’t be all bad
anyone for tennis?
anything for a quiet life
anything for a quiet wife
Apache (member of a North-American people – violent street ruffian in Paris)
ape (to lead apes in hell)
a penny soul never came to twopence
a piece of work (an unpleasant person)
a poke in the eye (with a sharp stick)
apostrofly
to appeal from Philip drunk to Philip sober
the apple of one’s eye
apple-pie (adjective: typically American in character)
apple-pie order
apple polisher/apple polishing
apples (Australian usage)
to apply the blowtorch to somebody’s belly
aptonym – aptonymic – aptronym – aptronymic
a racing dog’s bollocks
a rat with a gold tooth
are you decent? (sufficiently clothed to see visitors)
arm (to chance one’s arm)
armchair (attributive modifier)
armed to the teeth
army boots (your mother wears army boots)
a Roland for an Oliver
Arthur (not to know whether one is Arthur or Martha)
(as) American as apple pie
a sandwich short of a picnic
as Australian as meat pie
(as) bold as brass
Asbomania
(as) busy as a brickie in Beirut
(as) busy as a one-armed bill-sticker in a gale
(as) busy as a one-armed milker
(as) busy as a one-armed paperhanger
(as) busy as a one-armed taxi-driver with crabs
(as) camp as a row of tents
(as) cold as a stepmother’s breath
(as) cold as charity
(as) cold as Pharaoh’s heart
(as) daft as a brush
(as) dim as a Toc H lamp
(as) dead as the (or a) dodo
as demure as a whore at a christening
(as) drunk as Chloe
(as) dry as a Pommy’s towel
(as) fit as a fiddle
(as) fit as a mallee bull
(as) flash as a rat with a gold tooth
(as) fresh as a daisy
(as) full as a goog
(as) game as Ned Kelly
a shag on a rock
(as) happy as a clam
(as) happy as a sandboy
(as) happy as Larry
(as) hard as Pharaoh’s heart
(as) hot, or (as) strong, as mustard
ashtray (as useful as an ashtray on a motorbike)
(as) keen as mustard
as lucky as the pox doctor’s clerk
(as) mad as a hatter
(as) mad as a March hare
as much use as a chocolate teapot
as much use as an ashtray on a motorbike
a snake in the grass
a sniff of the barmaid’s apron
a snowball’s chance (in hell)
a spare tyre around the waistline
asphalt jungle
(as) poor as a church mouse
a sprat to catch a mackerel
as quick as greased lightning
(as) right as a trivet
as scarce as pork chops in a Jewish boarding house
as scarce as rocking-horse manure
(as) sick as a parrot
(as) snug as [animal name] (in —)
(as) sure as God made little apples
as the actress said to the bishop
as the bishop said to the actress
as the blind man said (used in association with ‘see’)
as the crow flies
(as) thick as thieves
(as) thick as two short planks
a stiff upper lip
a storm, or a tempest, in a teacup, or in a teapot
Astroturf
as useful as a chocolate teapot
as useful as an ashtray on a motorbike
(as) warm as toast
a tempest, or a storm, in a teacup, or in a teapot
a thumbnail dipped in tar
Atlantic
atone
at one fell swoop
at sixes and sevens
at someone’s beck and call
to attend Lilywhite’s party
Attila ((somewhere) to the right of Attila, or of Genghis Khan)
auld lang syne
Auntie: The Times (London newspaper) – the BBC
Aunt Sally
au reservoir
Australian (the (great) Australian adjective)
Australian (the (great) Australian salute)
a verandah over the toy shop
avoirdupois
Avon’s Swan
away with the fairies
a wet blanket
a whale of a (good) time
the awkward age – l’âge ingrat
awkward turtle
a word in your shell-like
axe (an axe to grind)

B
backronym
backroom boys
backseat driver
back to the drawing board
backward in coming forward
bad hair day
a bad quarter of an hour
bag lady
bag of mystery
a baker’s dozen
bald-headed (in a rush without care or caution)
baloney
Bamboo Curtain
Bananaland (Queensland) – Bananalander (Queenslander)
banana republic
bandwagon
banger
bang for the buck
bang went, or goes, sixpence
bank (to laugh/cry all the way to the bank)
bankster
barbecue stopper
Barcoo (the Barcoo salute)
barefoot(ed) and pregnant
bark mitzvah
barmy
basket case
basket(ful) of crabs
a bastard on Father’s Day
bat (to have bats in one’s belfry)
Bath (go to Bath (and get your head shaved))
BCGs – birth-control glasses
to be able to talk under water (or under wet cement, under wet concrete)
to be a far cry from
to be all hat and no cattle
to be all mouth and (no) trousers
to be all to the mustard
beanfeast
beano
to beard the lion in his den
the Beast from the East
to beat Banagher
to beat the bejesus out of someone
to beat the Dutch
beauty sleep
beaver (eager beaver)
to be a box of birds
to be barking up the wrong tree
to be born on the wrong side of the blanket
to be born with a silver spoon in one’s mouth
beck (at someone’s beck and call)
to be decent (sufficiently clothed to see visitors)
bedlam
bedside manner
bee (social gathering for a specific purpose)
bee (to have a bee in one’s bonnet)
been there, done that (and got the T-shirt)
been thrown out of better places than this
beer and skittles
beer o’clock
beer today (and) gone tomorrow
the bee’s knees
beetle-crusher
to beggar belief
before one can say Jack Robinson
begging bowl (appeal for financial help)
behind, like a cow’s tail
behind the eight ball
to be in a cleft stick
bejesus
to be left holding, or carrying, the baby
belief (to beggar belief)
to belittle
to bell the cat
below/above the salt
belt and braces – belt and suspenders
to be mustard
Benjamin’s mess – Benjamin’s portion
to be not so green as one is cabbage-looking
to be on hand like a sore thumb
to be on the blanket
to be part and parcel of
to be past one’s sell-by date
to be saved by the bell – être sauvé par le gong
best bib and tucker
(and) the best of British luck
the best thing since sliced bread
to be the mustard
better dead than red – better red than dead
better than a poke in the eye with a sharp stick
Betty Martin (all my eye and Betty Martin)
between the devil and the deep blue sea
betwixt and between
to be unable to run a whelk stall
beyond the pale
bib and tucker (one’s best bib and tucker)
Big Ben
big girl’s blouse
big hat—no cattle
the big smoke
bijou
bikini
Bill (black, or dark, over Bill’s, or Will’s, mother’s)
bimbette
bingo (the (great) god Bingo)
bingo wings
bird (a little bird told me)
bird (to get the bird)
(the) birds and (the) bees (the facts about sexual reproduction)
bird’s-eye view
birth-control glasses
biscuit (to take the biscuit)
bishop (as the bishop said to the actress – as the actress said to the bishop)
the bitch goddess
to bite the bullet
black, or dark, over Bill’s, or Will’s, mother’s
black sheep
blackboard jungle
blanket
blanket finish
blarney
blind date
blind eye (to turn a blind eye)
blind Freddy
blind man (‘said the blind man’ and variants used in association with ‘see’)
blind scouse
blonde moment
blood (someone’s blood is worth bottling)
blood, sweat, and tears
Bloody Mary (cocktail)
Bloody Mary (unnamed precursors of the cocktail)
Bloomsday – Bloom’s day
blotto
blowtorch (to apply the blowtorch to somebody’s belly)
blue (out of the blue)
blue-arsed fly (like a blue-arsed fly)
blue Monday
blue moon
blues
blue sky and hot air
blue-sky research
blue-sky talk
blurb
board (above board)
bobby
bob’s your uncle
Boche
bodkin (a person wedged between others)
to bogart
to boggle (the mind boggles)
(as) bold as brass
bollocks (the dog’s bollocks – the bollocks)
boloney
Bombay duck
Bondi (like a Bondi tram)
bone (to make no bones about something)
bone-box
bone idle
bonfire
bonkers
boo (wouldn’t say boo to a goose)
boob tuber
boodle (the whole boodle)
the books won’t freeze
boots under the bed
born in a barn/a field/a sawmill/a tent
born on the wrong side of the blanket
born with a silver spoon in one’s mouth
bottle episode – bottle show
boudoir bandicoot
boustrophedon
bovver (am I bovvered?)
bovver boy
to bow (down) in the house of Rimmon
bowler (hat) ((return to) civilian life)
Box and Cox
box and dice
Boxing Day
a box of birds
box of dominoes
box of ivories
boy (to send a boy to do a man’s work)
boycott
boy meets girl
boys in the backroom
boys will be boys
brass (to bring [someone or something] (right) down to the brass)
brass (to come (right) down to the brass)
brass monkey (extremely cold weather)
brass tacks (to come, or to get, down to brass tacks [early instances])
brass tacks (to come, or to get, down to brass tacks [hypothesis as to the origin])
bread (to have one’s bread buttered for life)
bread (it’s no bread and butter of mine)
bread (to know on which side one’s bread is buttered)
bread (to want one’s bread buttered on both sides)
bread-and-butter letter
bread and circuses
bread and roses
bread-artist
breadline
to break a butterfly on a wheel
breakfast (call me anything, so long as you don’t call me late to breakfast)
to break one’s duck
to break the ice
breastaurant
breath (don’t hold your breath)
brewery (couldn’t organise a piss-up in a brewery)
Brexit
brick (to drop a brick)
bright-eyed and bushy-tailed
to bring [someone or something] (right) down to the brass
to bring home the bacon
to bring [someone or something] (right) down to the brass
Bristol (shipshape and Bristol fashion)
Briticism
brolly hop
brothel-creepers
brown bomber
Brownie (Girl Scout or Girl Guide)
brownie point
brunch
Buckley’s (chance)
budget
budgie smugglers
Buggin’s turn
Bugs Bunny (eagle at the top of the Australian-American Memorial in Canberra)
bull (like a bull in a china shop)
bullamacow
bulldozer
bully
bums on seats
bunny boiler
burnsides
to burn the midnight oil
buroo (on the buroo)
burton (to go for a burton)
to bury one’s head in the sand
bus (to miss the bus)
bush telegraph
(as) busy as a brickie in Beirut
(as) busy as a one-armed bill-sticker in a gale
(as) busy as a one-armed milker
(as) busy as a one-armed paperhanger
(as) busy as a one-armed taxi-driver with crabs
the butcher, the baker, and the candlestick maker
buttered (to have one’s bread buttered for life)
buttered (to know on which side one’s bread is buttered)
buttered (to want one’s bread buttered on both sides)
butterfingered – butterfingers
butterflies in one’s stomach
butterfly
butterfly kiss
to button-hold – to buttonhole
butty (sandwich – slice of bread spread with butter)
to buy a pig in a poke
by a long chalk
by hook or by crook
by the skin of one’s teeth

C
cabbage (to be not so green as one is cabbage-looking)
cab off the rank
caboodle (the whole caboodle)
cackleberry
cahoot
cake (to take the cake)
cake (you can’t have your cake and eat it)
cakeage
calf’s head is best hot – calves’ heads are best hot
to call a spade a spade
calligram
call me anything, so long as you don’t call me late to dinner
(as) camp as, or camper than, a row of tents
can a moose crochet?
canary in the coal mine
can eat an apple through a picket fence
cannon (loose cannon)
can talk under water (or under wet cement, under wet concrete)
cap-a-pie
caper (to cut a caper)
cappuccino
capsize
captcha
Capuchin
car-crash television
carrot and stick
to carry coals to Newcastle
(to be left) to carry the baby
castle (an Englishman’s home is his castle)
castles in Spain/in the air
to cast nasturtiums on, or at
cat (a cat may look at a king)
cat (to let the cat out of the bag)
cat (like a cat on hot bricks)
cat (like a cat on a hot tin roof)
cat (to look like something the cat has brought in)
cat (no room to swing a cat)
cat (not a cat in hell’s chance)
cat (to see which way the cat jumps)
the Cat-and-Mouse Act
cat mitzvah
cat-o’-nine-tails
cats and dogs, to rain (authentic origin)– part 1
cats and dogs, to rain (hypothesis as to the origin) part 2
the cat’s whiskers
caught in the headlights
caviar to the general
chain-smoker
chalk (by a long chalk)
champagne socialism – champagne socialist
to chance one’s arm
chance would be a fine thing
to change horses in midstream/while crossing a stream
chardonnay socialism – chardonnay socialist
to charge like the Light Brigade
charity ((as) cold as charity)
charley horse
to chase the dragon
chav
cheese – fromage
cherchez la femme
Cheshire cat (to grin like a Cheshire cat)
chestnut (old chestnut – marronnier)
to chew nails and spit rust
chicken-and-egg
chief (too many chiefs and not enough Indians)
Chief Mouser to the Cabinet Office
chillax
China orange (all Lombard Street to a China orange)
a Chinaman’s chance
Chinese burn
a chip on one’s shoulder
chocolate teapot (as much use as a chocolate teapot)
choke, chicken: more are hatching
to chop and change
Christmas grip – Christmas hold
Christmas Truce of 1914
church ain’t out ’till the fat lady sings, ’till the singing is over
church mouse ((as) poor as a church mouse)
churchyard (a green, or hot, Christmas, or winter, makes a fat churchyard)
churchyard cough
churchyard luck
ciao
cicerone
clam ((as) happy as a clam)
clanger (to drop a clanger)
Clapham (the man on the Clapham omnibus)
the Clapham Sect
clapper (like the clappers)
claptrap
cleanliness is next to godliness
the clean potato
cleft stick
clew
cloak
cloak-and-dagger
clock
cloud (every cloud has a silver lining)
cloud-cuckoo-land
clover (in clover, i.e., in ease and luxury)
clue
coals (to carry coals to Newcastle)
cobbler (let the cobbler stick to his last)
cobblers (rhyming slang for ‘balls’, i.e., ‘testicles’, hence ‘nonsense’)
cock-a-hoop
to cock a snook
cock-and-bull story
cocked hat, to knock into a
Cocker, according to
cockle (to warm the cockles of one’s heart)
cockney
coconut (black) (Australian Aborigine who has ‘betrayed’ his identity)
codswallop
Coggeshall job
coil (this mortal coil)
(as) cold as a stepmother’s breath
(as) cold as charity
(as) cold as Pharaoh’s heart
cold call
cold comfort
a cold day in hell
a cold day in July
cold enough to freeze the balls off a brass monkey
the cold shoulder
cold turkey (as used of a drug addict)
Collins (letter of thanks for hospitality)
column (one from column A (and) one from column B)
to come a gutser
to come, or to get, down to brass tacks (early instances)
to come, or to get, down to brass tacks (hypothesis as to the origin)
to come (right) down to the brass
to come out of the woodwork
to come (right) down to the brass
to come the old soldier over someone
to come up with the rations
coming? so is Christmas!
concreteberg
concrete jungle
conspicuous by one’s/its absence
Continent isolated (satirical of British insularity)
contranym
contredanse
contronym
conundrum
cookie (that’s how, or the way, the cookie crumbles)
cookie ((that’s when) the cookie crumbled)
cookie pusher
cool Britannia
cootie
Corbynista
corduroy
coronation chicken
Corrupticut
costa (Spanish noun used in invented place names)
couch potato
could eat an apple through a picket fence
couldn’t knock the skin off a rice pudding
couldn’t organise a piss-up in a brewery
couldn’t punch a hole in a wet Echo
couldn’t stop a pig (in a gate)
couldn’t work in an iron lung
could sell refrigerators to the Eskimos
could talk under water (or under wet cement, under wet concrete)
to count sheep – compter les moutons
counter (to nail to the counter)
to cover more ground than Burke and Wills
coward
cowardy, cowardy custard
to crawl out of the woodwork
crazy bone
crébilloner – lèche-vitrine(s) – window shopping
cretin
Crichton, admirable
criss-cross
croque-madame
croque-monsieur
cross I win (and) pile you lose
cross my heart (and hope to die)
to cross the floor
crow’s nest
crumbs from a rich man’s table
crumpet (sexual meanings in British English)
crumpet (not worth a crumpet)
cruse (widow’s cruse)
to cry/laugh all the way to the bank
cucumber sandwiches on the lawn
cuff (off the cuff)
culture vulture
a cup of tea, a Bex and a good lie down
cup (the cup that cheers)
curate’s egg
curfew
curiosity killed the cat
curiouser and curiouser
cut (to have one’s work cut out)
to cut a caper
cut and dried
to cut both ways
to cut off one’s nose to spite one’s face
to cut the mustard
to cut to the chase
Cymru

D
dadchelor party
dad-dancing
dad-joke
Daily Fail, Daily Heil, Daily Wail (nicknames for the Daily Mail of London)
daisy, (as) fresh as a
daisies, to push up
damn, not to give a tinker’s
damnall at Blackall
(you’re) damned if you do and damned if you don’t
dandelion
dandy
dark, or black, over Bill’s, or Will’s, mother’s
day (the day’s (only) a pup)
dead (— is dead but won’t lie down)
dead and never called me mother
dead man’s shoes, to wait for
deadline
dementia Americana
devil (between the devil and the deep blue sea)
devil (the devil to pay)
Dickless Tracy
Dicky’s meadow, in
dictionary (to have swallowed a dictionary)
different ships, different long splices
different strokes for different folks
(as) dim as a Toc H lamp
dine and dash
dinner (call me anything, so long as you don’t call me late to dinner)
dinnyhayser
Disgusted
to do a Dame Nellie – to do a Melba
doesn’t buy (the) groceries
to doff
dog mitzvah
dog’s letter, the
dole, on the
dolly (up to dolly’s wax)
domino (figurative uses)
domino-box
to don
done up like a pox doctor’s clerk
donkey
donkey’s years
don’t argue (the straight-arm fend-off in rugby)
don’t do anything I wouldn’t
don’t hold your breath
don’t laugh—your daughter may be inside
don’t look a gift horse in the mouth
don’t spoil the ship for a ha’p’orth of tar
doolally
doona day
dose (like a dose of salts)
Double Pay (i.e., Double Bay, in Sydney, Australia)
down the back of the sofa
down the river, to sell
down the side of the sofa
dozen, a baker’s
dozen, thirteen to the
drawing board, back to the
dressed to the nines
Dr. Greenfield (to worship under Dr. Greenfield)
to drink the Kool-Aid
(as) drunk as Chloe
(as) dry as a Pommy’s towel
duck (to break one’s duck)
ducks on the pond
dumb bunny
to dumbsize
duration, for the
Dutching
duvet day


E
eager beaver
earthling
earworm
to eat humble pie
to eat the calf in the cow’s belly
eavesdrop
eggs, to teach one’s grandmother to suck
eight ball (behind the eight ball)
eighth wonder of the world
elbow grease
eligible bachelor
Emma Chisit
the Emmaville Express
enemy (How goes the enemy?)
Energizer bunny
English as she is spoke
an Englishman’s home is his castle
enemy within, the
esprit d’escalier
even ash
even a stopped clock is right twice a day
even paranoids have enemies
every cloud has a silver lining
every Preston Guild
everything but the kitchen sink
everything’s apples
everything’s wrong in Wollongong
Eve-teaser – Eve-teasing
excuse my French
eye (all my eye and Betty Martin)
eyes, to pull the wool over someone’s


F
face, to cut off one’s nose to spite one’s
fag end
fair-weather friend
to fall off the turnip truck
false dawn
famous for fifteen minutes
fang-farrier
Fanny Adams – Harriet Lane
far from the madding crowd
a fart in a spacesuit
fatberg
fat churchyard (a green, or hot, Christmas, or winter, makes a fat churchyard)
father (is your father a glazier?)
fat lady (church ain’t out, the opera ain’t over, until the fat lady sings)
fawn
feather-duster (an egg yesterday and a feather-duster tomorrow)
fed up
fedora
feeding time at the zoo
to feel like a bastard on Father’s Day
fell swoop, at one
feminophobia – femiphobia
femme, cherchez la
fetus
fiddle, (as) fit as a
field bishop
fifteen minutes, famous for
fifth column
to fight like Kilkenny cats
to fight one’s way out of a paper bag
figures won’t lie, but liars will figure
Fiji uncle
(fingernails) in mourning for the cat
fire (to set the Thames on fire)
first catch your hare
(as) fit as a fiddle
(as) fit as a mallee bull
five o’clock shadow
(as) flash as a rat with a gold tooth
flat out like a lizard drinking
flea market
flexible friend (i.e. credit card)
flexitarian
flirt
to fly a kite
fly-by-night
a fly in the ointment
fly-tipping
foaled of an acorn, a horse that was
fog in Channel—Continent isolated
foie gras
foolometer
for the duration
the forbidden fruit
forelock, to take time by the
forlorn hope
for show and not for blow
forty winks
four-leaf, or four-leaved, clover
the fourth estate
fox (a fox in a forest fire)
Franglais
freedom fries
Fremantle doctor
French, excuse my
French hours
French kiss
French leave
(as) fresh as a daisy
frog (to have a frog in one’s throat)
Froggy
to frog-march
frogspawn (tapioca pudding)
fromage – cheese
from hero to zero
from marbles to manslaughter
from pillar to post
from soup to nuts
from the horse’s mouth, straight
from zero to hero
front (more front than)
(as) full as a goog
full monty
funny bone
the funny things you see when you haven’t got your gun
further back, or further behind, than Walla Walla


G
galaxy
gallery, to play to the
(as) game as Ned Kelly
garters, to have someone’s guts for
gas and gaiters
gauntlet, to run the
gavroche
gazette
geek
Georgium Sidus
get inside and pull the blinds down
get on your bike
to get off, or out, at Redfern, at Gateshead, etc. (to practise coitus interruptus)
to get the bird
gianduja
gift horse (don’t look a gift horse in the mouth)
giggle-house
gigolo
girls will be girls
to give a poke in the eye (with a — stick)
not to give a tinker’s damn
to give the little lady a (great) big hand
glad and sorry (hire purchase)
Glasgow kiss
glazier (is your father a glazier?)
globaloney
to go ballistic
gobsmacked
Goddam (an Englishman)
God help those who are caught helping themselves
to go down like a lead balloon
God slot
to go from hero to zero
to go from zero to hero
to go haywire
go to Bath (and get your head shaved)
gone to Gowings
good field, no hit
to go postal
gone on the padre’s bike
gongoozler
goose, wouldn’t say boo to a
gooseberry, to play
to go over like a lead balloon
Gorgeous Wrecks
gorilla dust
gory details
gossip
got a feed at the Tweed
to go to Lilywhite’s party
to go to Specsavers
got the arse at Bulli Pass
government stroke
a grape on the business
grasshopper (a tourist, Australia)
Grauniad
grease monkey
the (great) Australian adjective
the (great) Australian salute
green (to be not so green as one is cabbage-looking)
a green, or hot, Christmas, or winter, makes a fat churchyard
Greenfield (to sleep in Mother Greenfield’s (lodgings) – to worship under Dr. Greenfield)
green fingers
green thumb
Greek (it’s (all) Greek to me)
grey meanie
grimalkin
to grin like a Cheshire cat
grog
grotty
Gundy (no good to Gundy)
Gunter (according to Gunter)
guts (to have someone’s guts for garters)
gutser
guy


H
hail-fellow-well-met
hair (keep your hair on)
hair of the dog
hairy dog
hairy eyeball
hairy goat
halcyon
half seas over
the Ham and Egg Parade
ham-fisted – ham-handed
Hamlet without the Prince
hand (the right hand doesn’t know what the left hand’s doing)
handbag (verb)
handbags at ten paces
hand of glory
happy as a bastard on Father’s Day
(as) happy as a clam
(as) happy as a sandboy
happy little Vegemite
(as) hard as Pharaoh’s heart
hardy annual
hare (first catch your hare)
Harriet Lane – Fanny Adams
hash (to make a hash of something)
hash (to settle someone’s hash)
hat trick
hatter, (as) mad as a
to have a bee in one’s bonnet
to have a foot in both camps
to have a frog in one’s throat
to have a person’s name on it
to have a tiger by the tail
to have bats in one’s belfry
to have both oars in the water
to have butterflies in one’s stomach
to have death adders in one’s pocket
to have got sand in one’s shoes
to have passed one’s sell-by date
to have someone’s guts for garters
to have someone’s name on it
to have swallowed a dictionary
to have two left feet, or, two left hands
haywire, to go
headless chicken
heads I win (and) tails you lose
to heap Pelion upon Ossa
heart (to warm the cockles of one’s heart)
heart of hearts
heart of oak
Heavens to Betsy
hell (to lead apes in hell)
hell (not a cat in hell’s chance)
hell hath no fury like a woman scorned
hell is paved with good intentions
“Hell!” said the duchess
hellzapoppin’
helpmate
Hesperus (like the wreck of the Hesperus)
hewer of wood and drawer of water
hikikomori
Hobson’s choice
Hogs Norton
hold (don’t hold your breath)
Hollywood ending
home (an Englishman’s home is his castle)
home (away) from home
home is where the heart is
home, James (and don’t spare the horses)
honeymoon
hooligan
hope your rabbit dies
horror stretch
a horse that was foaled of an acorn
horse (to change/swap horses in midstream/while crossing a stream)
horse (don’t look a gift horse in the mouth)
horse (straight from the horse’s mouth)
hospital pass
hot (like a cat on hot bricks)
hot (like a cat on a hot tin roof)
a hot, or green, Christmas, or winter, makes a fat churchyard
hot dog
hot mess
how about a game of tennis?
how are you off for soap?
how goes the enemy?
how long is a piece of string?
Hoyle, according to
Hughie (Australian usage)
huile de coude (i.e., elbow grease)
human bean
humble pie, to eat
hung parliament


I
I don’t care what they call me, so long as they don’t call me late to dinner
if it’s Tuesday, this must be Belgium
if my aunt had been a man, she would have been my uncle
if your aunt had been a man, she would have been your uncle
if you want to get ahead, get a hat
ignorance is bliss
I hope your rabbit dies
I’ll go to the foot of our stairs
imbecile
immolate
impressionism – impressionist
I’m talking to the butcher, not to the block
in a cleft stick
in a nutshell
in Annie’s room, up
in cahoots
in clover (in ease and luxury)
incunabula
Indian burn
Indian summer
in Dicky’s meadow
in jail at Innisfail
in more trouble than Speed Gordon
in mothballs
(fingernails) in mourning for the cat
inoperative statement
interview without coffee
in the grip of the grape
in the pudding club
in the swim
I resemble that remark
Irishman’s rise
iron lung (wouldn’t work in an iron lung)
iron maiden
— is dead but won’t lie down
I see, said the blind man
is your father a glazier?
itching palm
itchy feet
it’s (all) Greek to me
it’s all over bar the shouting
it’s moments like these
it’s no bread and butter of mine
it’s raining in London
it takes two to tango
it will be all right at night (theatrical phrase)
I’ve been thrown out of better places than this
I’ve got the time if you’ve got the inclination
ivory-box
ivory tower


J
Jack Robinson (before one can say Jack Robinson)
jam butty – jam sandwich (police patrol car)
a Jap on Anzac Day
Jenny Darby (policeman)
jerry-builder
Jesus boots
Jesus Hilton
Jimmy Woodser
jingo
job (that job’s jobbed)
Joe Bloggs
Joe Six-Pack
Joe Soap
Johnny Arab
Johnny Crapaud
Johnny Darm (policeman)
Johnny Foreigner
Johnny Onions
jolly hockey stick(s)
Joneses, to keep up with the
jot – tittle
to judge a book by its cover
to jump one’s horse over the bar
to jump the queue
jump up whitefellow


K
to kangaroo (to receive or to give kangaroo care)
kangaroo care
kangaroo visit
Kathleen Mavourneen
to keep an ear to the ground
to keep up with the Joneses
keep your eye on the sparrow
keep your hair on
keep your shirt on
kettle of fish, a pretty
to kick the bucket
kidnap
kidney, of that
kidult
Kilkenny cats
Kilroy (early instances)
Kilroy (origin?)
Kindertransport
King (to take the (King’s/Queen’s) shilling)
King Charles’s head
kingdom come
kippers and curtains
kiss cam
kissing-trap
kitchen sink, everything but the
kite, to fly a
knife-and-forker – knife-and-fork man
knight in shining armour
to knock into a cocked hat
to knock the skin off a rice pudding
to know one’s onions
knuckle-butty – knuckle-sandwich
kompromat
Kruschen (that, or the, Kruschen feeling)
kunlangeta


L
Lady Blamey
lager lout
the land of fruits and nuts
land of Nod
to lark about
last, to stick to one’s
La Stupenda
to laugh like a drain
to lead apes in hell
lead balloon
lead in one’s pencil
leave, French
to leave in the lurch
to leave no stone unturned
the left hand doesn’t know what the right hand’s doing
leg, to pull someone’s
to let the cat out of the bag
let the cobbler stick to his last
lettuce
to lick into shape
lightbulb moment
like a Bondi tram
like a cat on hot bricks
like a cat on a hot tin roof
like a deer caught in the headlights
like a dose of salts
like a headless chicken
like a pork chop in a synagogue
like a rabbit caught in the headlights
like a red rag to a bull
like a stunned mullet
like a twisted sandshoe
like billy-o
like death warmed up
like one o’clock
like pulling teeth
like the back (end) of a bus
like the wreck of the Hesperus
like watching paint dry
Lilywhite’s party
limousine liberal
Linus blanket
the (little) man in the boat
little man, you’ve had a busy day
little old ladies in tennis shoes
little rabbits have big ears
to live on the smell of an oil rag
liver, to wash the milk off one’s
Liverpool gentleman (as opposed to Manchester man)
Liverpool pantile (sea-biscuit)
Liverpudlian
lobster
loco-foco
locust
all Lombard Street to a China orange
Londongrad
London to a brick
to look like a pox doctor’s clerk
to look like something the cat has brought in
look (mum, or ma), no hands!
loony bin
loony doctor
loose cannon
lorem ipsum
to lose one’s marbles
to lose the dressing room
love (no love lost)
lower than a snake’s belly
low man on the totem (pole)
lucky as a bastard on Father’s Day
lupus
lurch, to leave in the
Lushington


M
MacGyver
Maconochie
(as) mad as a hatter
(as) mad as a March hare
Madchester
madding crowd, far from the
madeleine
mad money
magpiety
mahogany (to amputate one’s mahogany)
mahogany reef
mahogany ridge
maiden’s prayer, the answer to
to make a better door than (a) window
to make a hash of something
to make a spoon or spoil a horn
to make a Virginia fence
to make (both) ends meet
to make no bones about something
to make one’s marble(s) good
Malabar Hilton
Malley’s cow
Mamamouchi
MAMIL
Manchester man (as opposed to Liverpool gentleman)
man from Mars
Manhattanhenge
the (little) man in the boat
the man on the Clapham omnibus
the man outside Hoyt’s
a man’s gotta do what a man’s gotta do
marbles, to lose one’s
March hare, (as) mad as a
mardy
mare nostrum
marines, tell that to the
Marquis of Queensberry (rules)
marronnier – old chestnut
marrowsky
Martha (not to know whether one is Arthur or Martha)
martini lunch
maudlin
Maundy
Mayday
mayonnaise
may your rabbits die
meat (one man’s meat is another man’s poison)
meat and two veg
a memory like a sieve
men in buckram
the men in (the) white coats
merrythought – wishbone
mess of pottage
Mexican standoff
mice and men, of
midinette
midnight oil, to burn the
might find a berth in Perth
milk (to wash the milk off one’s liver)
milliner
million (as a magic number)
a millstone round someone’s neck
milquetoast
a mind like a sieve
Mintie
Miss – Ms
Miss Otis regrets
to miss the bus
Moab
Mondayitis
money for old rope
monkey (to put [something] where the monkey put(s) the nuts)
Monsieur Crapaud
Montezuma’s Revenge
moon, once in a blue
moon, over the
moonraker
moonshine
more camp than a row of tents
more front than (early Australian uses)
more front than (British and Irish uses)
more hide than Jessie
morning, noon and night
moron
mortal coil, this
Morton’s forkMother Carey’s chicken
mothball (in/out of mothballs)
Mother Carey’s chicken
Mother Greenfield’s (lodgings)
motherhood and apple pie
Mothering Sunday
mother’s ruin
mouseburger
mouser
Mr – Mrs
Mr Fixit
Mr Nice Guy
Mr Plod (policeman)
Mrs Grundy
Ms (combination of Mrs and Miss)
Mummerset
muttons, to return to one’s
my (giddy, sainted, etc.) aunt!
myrmidon
my stars and garters!
mystery bag


N
Nacht und Nebel
to nail one’s colours to the mast
nail, on the
to nail (to the counter)
to name and shame
nanny state
nasty piece of work
neatnik
neck of the woods
neighbour(s) from hell
neither fish nor fowl
Nelson (until/when Nelson gets his eye back)
nice but dim
night (the night’s (only) a pup)
nightcap
Nine-nine-nine
nines, dressed to the
the nineteenth hole
no bread and butter of mine
nod (a nod is as good as a wink)
Noddy suit
no feedin’ at Eden
no good to Gundy
no love lost
no lucre at Echuca
no man’s land
nom de —
no more Mr Nice Guy
no names, no pack drill
no room to swing a cat
nose (to cut off one’s nose to spite one’s face)
nose, to pay through the
nosey parker
not a bone in the truck
not a cat in hell’s chance
not the only pebble on the beach
nothingburger
not to be able to fight one’s way out of a paper bag
not to be able to [verb] for toffee
not to have two yachts, or Rolls-Royces, to rub together
not to know whether one is Arthur or Martha
not worth a crumpet
nul points
nuppence
nutshell, in a


O
off one’s trolley
of mice and men
of that kidney
oil on troubled waters, to pour
ointment, a fly in the
old chestnut – marronnier
old school tie
old soldier (to come the old soldier over someone)
Oliver (a Roland for an Oliver)
omelette
OMG
omnibus (the man on the Clapham omnibus)
omnishambles
once in a blue moon
one for show and one for blow
one from column A (and) one from column B
one fell swoop, at
one flash and you’re ash
one for the road – stirrup cup
one man’s meat is another man’s poison
one may as well have the game as the name
one’s best bib and tucker
one’s trumpeter is dead
one swallow does not make a summer
onion (to know one’s onions)
Onion Johnny
on the blanket
on the buroo
on the dole
on the nail
on the pig’s back
on the side of the angels
on the spur of the moment
on the wrong side of the tracks
oojah
oojah-cum-spiff
oojamaflip
open and shet, sign o’ more wet
to open the kimono
opera (the opera ain’t over until the fat lady sings)
orange (all Lombard Street to a China orange)
ordeal
the order of the bootout of one’s skull
Ossa (to pile Pelion upon Ossa)
to out-Herod Herod
out of mothballs
out of the blue
outside the box
to out-Zola Zola
overpaid, overdressed, oversexed and over here
over the moon
over the top
owlhoot
Oxford comma
oxygen
oxymoron
oyster, the world is one’s


P
padoodle
padre (gone on the padre’s bike)
to paint the map red, or pink
to paint the town red
pale, beyond the
pandemonium
panier de crabes
panjandrum
pan-loafy
pantile (flat cake or biscuit – sea-biscuit)
paparazzi
paper bag (not to be able to fight one’s way out of a paper bag)
paper tiger
paper yabber
paranoid (even paranoids have enemies)
paraphernalia
Paris syndrome
parlour (attributive modifier)
parlour patriot
parlour socialist | parlour socialism
parson’s week
part and parcel
Parthian shot
parting shot
to pass the parcel
pastiche – pastis
the patter of tiny feet
Paul Pry
to pay through the nose
PC Plod (policeman)
peaceable kingdom
pebble (the only pebble on the beach)
pedigree
peeping Tom
Pelion (to pile Pelion upon Ossa)
pen (the pen is mightier than the sword)
penny (the penny dropped)
a penny soul never came to twopence
person from Porlock
pester power
the Pest from the West
petrichor
Philip (to appeal from Philip drunk to Philip sober)
philtrum
Piccadilly window
picnic
picnic (a sandwich short of a picnic)
piece of work (unpleasant person)
pig (to buy a pig in a poke)
pig (to sweat like a pig)
pigs might fly
pigeon à la crapaudine – toad-in-the-hole
to pile Pelion upon Ossa
pillar to post, from
pineapple, the rough end of the
pink
pink on the map
pin-up girl
pip (to squeeze until the pips squeak)
pipe dream
piping hot
Pip, Squeak and Wilfred
place in the sun
plain vanilla
to play a good knife and fork
to play gooseberry
to play possum
to play to the gallery
Plod (policeman)
plot (the plot thickens)
plus-fours and no breakfast
pogue
point-blank
poison (one man’s meat is another man’s poison)
the politics of the warm inner glow
Pollyanna
Pooh-Bah
(as) poor as a church mouse
to pop one’s clogs
pork pie – porky pie – porky (rhyming slang for ‘lie’)
port – starboard
posh
postal, to go
postcode (used attributively)
potato-box
potato-jaw
potato-trap
POTUS
poulet
pound-noteish
pour encourager les autres
to pour oil on troubled waters
powfagged
pox doctor’s clerk
pregnant
pregnant and barefoot(ed)
the proof of the pudding is in the eating
prosecco socialist
P’s and Q’s
public enemy number one
pudding (in the pudding club)
pudding (the proof of the pudding is in the eating)
to pull one’s socks up
to pull someone’s leg
to pull the wool over someone’s eyes
pumpkinification
to punch a hole in a wet Echo
pup (the night’s (only) a pup)
pup, to sell a
to push up daisies
pussy’s bow (up to pussy’s bow)
put a sock in it
to put a tiger in one’s tank
to put on one’s thinking cap
to put [something] where the monkey put(s) the nuts
to put the cat among the pigeons
to put the toothpaste back in the tube


Q
Queen (to take the (King’s/Queen’s) shilling)
Queen Anne front and Mary Ann back
Queen Anne’s fan
Queensberry rules
Queensland (the Queensland salute)
queue-jump
(in) quick sticks
quiz


R
(white) rabbit(s) (good-luck incantation)
to rain cats and dogs – part 1
to rain cats and dogs – part 2
to rain stair rods
ranz-des-vaches
a rat with a gold tooth
rat (to smell a rat)
razor gang
to read the riot act
real George
the real Simon Pure
to recharge one’s batteries
red, to paint the town
red herring
red-light district
red on the map
red rag to a bull
Red Sea pedestrian
red top
to reinvent the wheel
reseda
to return to one’s muttons
rhesus
rhubarb (theatrical term + denoting ‘nonsense’)
rice pudding (couldn’t knock the skin off a rice pudding)
Richard’s himself again
Richard Snary
to ride shotgun
rift in the lute
(as) right as a trivet
the right hand doesn’t know what the left hand’s doing
ring finger – annulaire
riot act, to read the
river, to sell down the
river, to send up the
roaring forties
robot
rocking-chair job
rocking-chair money
rocking horse (as scarce as rocking-horse manure)
Roland (a Roland for an Oliver)
roost, to rule the
rose-coloured spectacles
rosinback
rôti sans pareil – turducken
Rotten row
the rough end of the pineapple
royal we
Ruby Murray (curry)
rugby, racing and beer
—— rule(s) OK
to rule the roost
to run like a hairy goat
to run the gauntlet


S
to sack
sæva indignatio
said the blind man (used in association with ‘see’)
Sally, Aunt
sandboy, (as) happy as a
sandwich
sandwich (a sandwich short of a picnic)
sanglier
sauce (what’s sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander)
to save the day
saved by the bell – sauvé par le gong
savoury duck
say boo to a goose, wouldn’t
scarlet letter
schoolgirl complexion
Scouse
Scousette
Scout’s honour
sea (between the devil and the deep blue sea)
season
to see a man about a dog
see that’s wet, see that’s dry
to see which way the cat jumps
see you later, agitator
segocia
to sell a pup
sell-by date (to be past one’s sell-by date)
to sell down the river
to sell refrigerators to the Eskimos
to sell sand in the Sahara
to send a boy to do a man’s work
send it down, Hughie!
to send to Coventry
to send up the river
serendipity
to set the cat among the pigeons
to set the Thames on fire
to settle someone’s hash
a shag on a rock
shambles
Shank’s pony
sheep, black
shell-like (a word in your shell-like)
shell out
she’s apples
shilling (to take the (King’s/Queen’s) shilling)
ship (don’t spoil the ship for a ha’p’orth of tar)
shipshape and Bristol fashion
shirt (keep your shirt on)
shiver my timbers
Shock-headed Peter
shoe (another pair of shoes)
shoe (to wait for a dead man’s shoes)
shopaholic – shopaholism
shoplifting
to shop till one drops
short-arm inspection
short of a —— (mentally deficient, slightly crazy)
short shrift
shotgun (to ride shotgun)
shotgun wedding
shoulder, a chip on one’s
shoulder, the cold
should’ve gone to Specsavers
show a leg
Siberian Express
sieve (a memory, or a mind, like a sieve)
silent like the ‘p’ in swimming
silk (you can’t make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear)
silver lining, every cloud has a
silver spoon (to be born with a silver spoon in one’s mouth)
simon-pure
Simon says
sing ’em muck
singing milkshake
sirloin
sixes and sevens, at
six-hat and fifty-shirt
six o’clock swill
sixty-four (thousand) dollar question
a skeleton at the feast
skin (by the skin of one’s teeth)
skinflint
skinhead
skirt patrol
skull (out of one’s skull)
slapstick
Slav – slave
to sleep in Mother Greenfield’s (lodgings)
to sleep like a top
Sloane Ranger
slobber-knocker – slobber-knock
the Slough of Despond
sly grog
small beer
small potatoes
to smell a rat
to smoke (you’ll be smoking next)
smoke and mirrors
a snake in the grass
Snary, Richard
sneeze
a sniff of the barmaid’s apron
(as) snug as [animal name] (in —)
soap (how are you off for soap?)
soccer
social distancing
sock (to pull one’s socks up)
sock (put a sock in it)
soft Mick
soldier (to come the old soldier over someone)
someone’s blood is worth bottling
something nasty in the woodshed
(from) soup to nuts
sow (you can’t make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear)
Spam medal
spare the rod and spoil the child
a spare tyre around the waistline
Speed Gordon (in more trouble than Speed Gordon)
spick and span
to spin a yarn
spine-bash
spit and sawdust
to spit the dummy
spoil (don’t spoil the ship for a ha’p’orth of tar)
spoon (to be born with a silver spoon in one’s mouth)
spoonerism
sport
a sprat to catch a mackerel
spud
spud-barber
spud-bash – spud-basher – spud-bashing
spur of the moment, on the
Spy Wednesday
squander-bug (British usage)
square-eyed | square eyes
squaw winter
squeaky clean
to squeeze a nickel until the Indian is riding the buffalo
squeeze pidgin
to squeeze until the pips squeak
squid (you can’t tell the mind of a squid)
squillion – squillionaire
stalking horse
stand and grow good
starboard – port
staycation
to steal someone’s thunder
stepmother ((as) cold as a stepmother’s breath)
to sticker-lick – sticker-licker
stick it up your jumper
sticks and stones may break my bones but names will never hurt me
to stick to one’s last
stickybeak
stirrup cup – one for the road
stone (to leave no stone unturned)
a storm, or a tempest, in a teacup, or in a teapot
storm on Channel—Continent isolated
straight and narrow, the
straight from the horse’s mouth
strawberry preacher
Strine
sun, place in the
sunstruck bone
(as) sure as God made little apples
svengali
to have swallowed a dictionary
one swallow does not make a summer
to swap horses in midstream/while crossing a stream
to sweat like a pig
swellegant
swim, in the
swoop, at one fell


T
tabloid (1)
tabloid (2)
tace is Latin for candle
Taffia
take me to your leader (demand made by an extraterrestrial)
to take the checkered flag
to take the (King’s/Queen’s) shilling
to take time by the forelock
to talk a glass eye to sleep
to talk through (the back of) one’s neck
tango (it takes two to tango)
to tap the Admiral
tar (don’t spoil the ship for a ha’p’orth of tar)
tart
to teach one’s grandmother to suck eggs
Teddy boy
teeth like stars (false teeth)
teetotal
teetotum
tell that to the marines
a tempest, or a storm, in a teacup, or in a teapot
une tempête dans un verre d’eau
tennis
tennis, anyone?
Thames (to set the Thames on fire)
thank your mother for the rabbit(s)
that cock won’t fight
that dog won’t hunt
that job’s jobbed
that Kruschen feeling
that schoolgirl complexion
that way madness lies
the answer to a maiden’s prayer
the ant’s pants
the Barcoo salute
the Beast from the East
the bee’s knees
the big smoke
(the) birds and (the) bees (the facts about sexual reproduction)
the books won’t freeze
the cat’s whiskers
the Clapham Sect
the clean potato
the cold shoulder
the cup that cheers
the day’s (only) a pup
the devil to pay
the dog’s letter
the eighth wonder of the world
the Emmaville Express
the enemy within
the fat lady (church ain’t out, the opera ain’t over, until the fat lady sings)
the first cab off the rank
the full monty
the funny things you see when you haven’t got your gun
the girls are bandy at Urandangie
the gory details
the (great) Australian adjective
the (great) Australian salute
the (great) god Bingo
the Ham and Egg Parade
the higher the fewer (answer to why is a mouse when it spins?)
the Kruschen feeling
the land of fruits and nuts
the land of Nod
the last cab off the rank
the (little) man in the boat
the man on the Clapham omnibus
the man outside Hoyt’s
the men in (the) white coats
the morning after the night before
the next cab off the rank
the night’s (only) a pup
the nineteenth hole
the only pebble on the beach
the opera ain’t over until the fat lady sings
the order of the boot
the patter of tiny feet
the pen is mightier than the sword
the penny dropped
the Pest from the West
the plot thickens
the politics of the warm inner glow
the proof of the pudding is in the eating
the Queensland salute
the real Simon Pure
there’s no work in Bourke
(there’s) trouble at t’mill
the right hand doesn’t know what the left hand’s doing
the river that flows upside down (the Yarra River)
the road to hell is paved with good intentions
the rough end of the pineapple
the skin of one’s teeth
the Slough of Despond
the straight and narrow
the thick plottens
the things I’ve done for England
the things you see when you haven’t got your gun
the toast of the town
the Volvo set
the whole boodle
the whole box and dice
the whole caboodle
the witching hour
the wogs begin at Calais
(all) the world and his wife
the world is one’s oyster
the wrong side of the tracks
(as) thick as thieves
(as) thick as two short planks
thick (the thick plottens)
things are crook in Muswellbrook, or in Tallarook
things are weak at Julia Creek
the things you see when you haven’t got your gun
thinking cap
to think outside the box
thirteen to the dozen
this mortal coil
three-martini lunch
three on the hook and three on the book
thrown out of better places than this
a thumbnail dipped in tar
thunder, to steal someone’s
tickety-boo
tiger (to have a tiger by the tail)
tiger (to put a tiger in one’s tank)
time (to take time by the forelock)
time flies? you cannot: they go too fast
tinker (not to give a tinker’s damn)
tiswas
tit for tat
tittle – jot
to a T – to a tee
toad-in-the-hole – pigeon à la crapaudine
toast (the toast of the town)
toast, (as) warm as
to toe the line
toffee (not to be able to [verb] for toffee)
toffee-nosed
to toilet-paper
Tom Mix in Cement
Tom Pepper
Tom Tiddler’s ground
(with) tongue in cheek
toot sweet
tooth fairy
top, to sleep like a
Torygraph (nickname for The Daily Telegraph of London)
Tory-lite
to toss in a blanket
to the nines, dressed
tough titty
tour d’ivoire – ivory tower
town red, to paint the
to T.P.
to trail one’s coat
to treat with ignore
trick or treat
trigger-happy
trolley (off one’s trolley)
trolley-dash
(there’s) trouble at t’mill
trumpery
trumpeter (one’s trumpeter is dead)
tulip
turban
turducken – rôti sans pareil
to turn a blind eye
T.W.O.C. (taking without owner’s consent)
two is company, three is a crowd
two left feet, or, two left hands
two-martini lunch
(Yorkshire) tyke


U
uncle (Fiji uncle)
underground mutton
underpaid, underdressed, undersexed and under Eisenhower
une tempête dans un verre d’eau
to unfriend
unshirted hell
until hell freezes over
until Nelson gets his eye back
up in Annie’s room
up the river
up to dolly’s wax
up to pussy’s bow
useful idiot
useful innocent


V
valentine
vanilla sex
Vaseline Valley
Vatican roulette
a verandah over the toy shop
Vicar of Bray
vinegar trip
Virginia fence (to make a Virginia fence)
virtus dormitiva
the Volvo set


W
to wait for a dead man’s shoes
Wales
to walk a crackto walk one’s chalks
(as) warm as toast
to warm the cockles of one’s heart
warts and all
to wash the milk off one’s liver
watching paint dry, like
we aim to please (you aim too, please)
to wear cotton drawers
to wear army boots
well, I’ll go to the foot of our stairs
were you born in a barn/a field/a sawmill/a tent?
wet blanket
to wet one’s whistle
we’ve got the time if you’ve got the inclination
a whale of a (good) time
what’s sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander
when Nelson gets his eye back
when push comes to shove
where did you get your licence?
where’s your white stick?
where the bugs wear clogs
where the monkey put(s) the nuts
where there’s muck, there’s brass
where the rubber meets the road
white ants
white poppy
(white) rabbit(s) (good-luck incantation)
the whole boodle
the whole caboodle
who’s for tennis?
who’s robbing this coach?
who’s robbing this train?
who’s ‘she’—the cat’s mother?
who stole your scone?
why is a mouse when it spins?
widow’s cruse
Will (black, or dark, over Bill’s, or Will’s, mother’s)
william-nilliam
window
winedot
wink (a nod is as good as a wink)
wishbone – merrythought
wishful thinker – wishful thinking
witches’ knickers
witching hour
Witham
within a bull’s roar of
without a bone in the truck
(with) tongue in cheek
wogs begin at Calais
wood-and-water joey
woodshed, something nasty in the
wool (to pull the wool over someone’s eyes)
a word in your shell-like
the world is one’s oyster
worm’s-eye view
to worship under Dr. Greenfield
wouldn’t say boo to a goose
wouldn’t work in an iron lung
would you buy a used, or a second-hand, car from this man?
wreck (like the wreck of the Hesperus)
wrong tree, to be barking up the


X
Xmas


Y
yabber
Yorkshire tyke
you can call me anything, so long as you don’t call me late to dinner
you can’t have your cake and eat it
you can’t make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear
you can’t tell the mind of a squid
you’ll be smoking next
(you’re) damned if you do and damned if you don’t
your head’s on fire
your mother wears army boots
you, too, can have a body like mine
you’ve shot your granny

Z
zero tolerance

numerals
999


miscellany
a 19th-century document on English phrases
19th-century nicknames for London newspapers
Eating in the Romance languages
French pig idioms
Galloglossia
The language of domination
On biblical translations: “what is lacking” vs. “the number of fools”
On errors in the Oxford English Dictionary
Our lunatic contributor
The meaning of ‘temptation’ in the Lord’s Prayer
‘Wuthering Heights’