alphabetical index

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

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 bull in a china shop
ACAB (all coppers are bastards)
a calf’s head is best hot
a cat may look at a king
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
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)
adder (deaf as an adder)
admirable Crichton
ado
adultescent
a far cry
a fly in the ointment
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 green, or hot, Christmas, or winter, makes a fat churchyard
ailurophile
aisle (to have people rolling in the aisles)
Ajax
alar(u)ms and excursions
Alas! my poor brother
albatross (an albatross around one’s neck)
Albion
a legend in one’s (own) lifetime
a legend in one’s (own) lunchtime
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 Lombard Street to a China orange
all mouth and (no) trousers
all my eye and Betty Martin
all one’s Christmases come at once
all over the shop
all right, you heard a seal bark
(all) round the houses
all-singing, all-dancing
all Sir Garnet
(all) the world and his wife
alone
a man’s gotta do what a man’s gotta do
(as) American as apple pie
a millstone round someone’s neck
amour fou
to amputate one’s mahogany
an/a (indefinite article)
an albatross around one’s neck
an axe to grind
and so to bed
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 pair of shoes
the answer to a maidens’ prayer
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)
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
a racing dog’s bollocks
are you decent? (sufficiently clothed to see visitors)
arm (to chance one’s arm)
armed to the teeth
army boots (your mother wears army boots)
a Roland for an Oliver
(as) American as apple pie
a sandwich short of a picnic
(as) bold as brass
as busy as a one-armed paperhanger
(as) camp as a row of tents
(as) cold as a stepmother’s breath
(as) cold as charity
(as) daft as a brush
(as) dim as a Toc H lamp
(as) dead as the (or a) dodo
(as) fit as a fiddle
(as) fresh as a daisy
(as) happy as a clam
(as) happy as a sandboy
(as) happy as Larry
(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 an ashtray on a motorbike
a snake in the grass
a snowball’s chance (in hell)
(as) poor as a church mouse
as quick as greased lightning
(as) sick as a parrot
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
a stiff upper lip
a storm, or a tempest, in a teacup, or in a 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
Atlantic
atone
at one fell swoop
at sixes and sevens
to attend Lilywhite’s party
Attila ((somewhere) to the right of Attila, or of Genghis Khan)
auld lang syne
Aunt Sally
au reservoir
avoirdupois
Avon’s Swan
away with the fairies
a wet blanket
the awkward age – l’âge ingrat
awkward turtle
a word in your shell-like
axe (an axe to grind)

B
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 went, or goes, sixpence
bank (to laugh/cry all the way to the bank)
bankster
barefoot(ed) and pregnant
barmy
basket case
a bastard on Father’s Day
bat (to have bats in one’s belfry)
to be a far cry from
to be all mouth and (no) trousers
to be all to the mustard
beanfeast
beano
to beard the lion in his den
to beat the bejesus out of someone
beaver (eager beaver)
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
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
to beggar belief
begging bowl (appeal for financial help)
behind, like a cow’s tail
behind the eight ball
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 on hand like a sore thumb
to be on the blanket
to be part and parcel of
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
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
bijou
bikini
Bill (black, or dark, over Bill’s, or Will’s, mother’s)
bingo (the (great) god Bingo)
bingo wings
bird (a little bird told me)
bird (to get the bird)
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’)
blonde moment
blood (someone’s blood is worth bottling)
blood, sweat, and tears
Bloody Mary (cocktail)
Bloody Mary (unnamed precursors of the cocktail)
blotto
blue (out of the blue)
blue-arsed fly (like a blue-arsed fly)
blue Monday
blue moon
blues
blue sky and hot air
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
bone (to make no bones about something)
bonfire
bonkers
boo (wouldn’t say boo to a goose)
boob tuber
the books won’t freeze
born on the wrong side of the blanket
born with a silver spoon in one’s mouth
to bow (down) in the house of Rimmon
bowler (hat) ((return to) civilian life)
Box and Cox
Boxing Day
boy meets girl
boys in the backroom
boycott
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 (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
breadline
breakfast (call me anything, so long as you don’t call me late to breakfast)
to break one’s duck
to break the ice
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)
Brownie (Girl Scout or Girl Guide)
brownie point
brunch
budget
Buggin’s turn
bull (like a bull in a china shop)
bulldozer
bully
bums on seats
bunny boiler
burnsides
to burn the midnight oil
buroo (on the buroo)
burton (to go for a burton)
bus (to miss the bus)
busier than a one-armed paperhanger
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)
butterfly kiss
to button-hold – to buttonhole
to buy a pig in a poke
by a long chalk
by hook or by crook
by the skin of one’s teeth

C
cackleberry
cake (to take the cake)
cake (you can’t have your cake and eat it)
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
canary in the coal mine
cannon (loose cannon)
cap-a-pie
caper (to cut a caper)
cappuccino
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-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
caviar to the general
chalk (by a long chalk)
to chance one’s arm
to change horses in midstream/while crossing a stream
to charge like the Light Brigade
charity ((as) cold as charity)
charley horse
chav
cheese – fromage
cherchez la femme
Cheshire cat (to grin like a Cheshire cat)
chestnut (old chestnut – marronnier)
chief (too many chiefs and not enough Indians)
China orange (all Lombard Street to a China orange)
a Chinaman’s chance
a chip on one’s shoulder
choke, chicken: more are hatching
to chop and change
Christmas Truce of 1914
church mouse ((as) poor as a church mouse)
churchyard (a green, or hot, Christmas, or winter, makes a fat churchyard)
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
clew
cloak
cloak-and-dagger
clock
cloud (every cloud has a silver lining)
cloud-cuckoo-land
clue
coals (to carry coals to Newcastle)
cobbler (let the cobbler stick to his last)
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
codswallop
Coggeshall job
coil (this mortal coil)
(as) cold as a stepmother’s breath
(as) cold as charity
cold call
cold comfort
cold enough to freeze the balls off a brass monkey
the cold shoulder
Collins (letter of thanks for hospitality)
column (one from column A (and) one from column B)
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
coming? so is Christmas!
Continent isolated (satirical of British insularity)
contredanse
conundrum
cookie (that’s how, or the way, the cookie crumbles)
cookie ((that’s when) the cookie crumbled)
cool Britannia
cootie
corduroy
couch potato
couldn’t organise a piss-up in a brewery
to count sheep – compter les moutons
counter (to nail to the counter)
coward
cowardy, cowardy custard
to crawl out of the woodwork
crébilloner – lèche-vitrine(s) – window shopping
cretin
Crichton, admirable
criss-cross
croque-monsieur
cross my heart (and hope to die)
crow’s nest
crumbs from a rich man’s table
cruse (widow’s cruse)
to cry/laugh all the way to the bank
cuff (off the cuff)
culture vulture
cup (the cup that cheers)
curate’s egg
curfew
curiosity killed the cat
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
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
(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
dead (— is dead but won’t lie down)
dead and never called me mother
dead man’s shoes, to wait for
deadline
devil (between the devil and the deep blue sea)
devil (the devil to pay)
Dicky’s meadow, in
(as) dim as a Toc H lamp
dinner (call me anything, so long as you don’t call me late to dinner)
Disgusted
to do a Dame Nellie – to do a Melba
to doff
dog’s letter, the
dole, on the
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
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
duck, to break one’s
duration, for the


E
eager beaver
earthling
to eat humble pie
eavesdrop
eggs, to teach one’s grandmother to suck
eight ball (behind the eight ball)
enemy (How goes the enemy?)
English as she is spoke
an Englishman’s home is his castle
enemy within, the
esprit d’escalier
even paranoids have enemies
every cloud has a silver lining
everything but the kitchen sink
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
to fall off the turnip truck
famous for fifteen minutes
Fanny Adams – Harriet Lane
far from the madding crowd
fat churchyard (a green, or hot, Christmas, or winter, makes a fat churchyard)
father (is your father a glazier?)
fawn
fed up
fedora
feeding time at the zoo
to feel like a bastard on Father’s Day
fell swoop, at one
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
(fingernails) in mourning for the cat
fire (to set the Thames on fire)
first catch your hare
(as) fit as a fiddle
flea market
flexible friend (i.e. credit card)
flirt
to fly a kite
a fly in the ointment
fly-by-night
fog in Channel—Continent isolated
foie gras
for the duration
the forbidden fruit
forelock, to take time by the
forlorn hope
forty winks
the fourth estate
foaled of an acorn, a horse that was
Franglais
French, excuse my
French kiss
French leave
(as) fresh as a daisy
frog (to have a frog in one’s throat)
Froggy
to frog-march
from marbles to manslaughter
from pillar to post
from soup to nuts
from the horse’s mouth, straight
fromage – cheese
full monty
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
garters, to have someone’s guts for
gas and gaiters
gauntlet, to run the
gazette
geek
Georgium Sidus
get inside and pull the blinds down
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)
gigolo
not to give a tinker’s damn
glazier (is your father a glazier?)
God help those who are caught helping themselves
to go haywire
gone to Gowings
good field, no hit
to go postal
gongoozler
goose, wouldn’t say boo to a
gooseberry, to play
Gorgeous Wrecks
gossip
to go to Lilywhite’s party
Grauniad
a green, or hot, Christmas, or winter, makes a fat churchyard
Greek (it’s (all) Greek to me)
grimalkin
to grin like a Cheshire cat
grog
Gunter, according to
guts (to have someone’s guts for garters)
guy


H
hail-fellow-well-met
hair (keep your hair on)
hair of the dog
hairy eyeball
halcyon
ham-fisted – ham-handed
Hamlet without the Prince
hand (the right hand doesn’t know what the left hand’s doing)
hand of glory
happy as a bastard on Father’s Day
(as) happy as a clam
(as) happy as a sandboy
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 frog in one’s throat
to have bats in one’s belfry
to have death adders in one’s pocket
to have got sand in one’s shoes
to have someone’s guts for garters
haywire, to go
heart (to warm the cockles of one’s heart)
heart of hearts
heart of oak
hell (to lead apes in hell)
hell (not a cat in hell’s chance)
hell hath no fury like a woman scorned
helpmate
Hesperus (like the wreck of the Hesperus)
Hobson’s choice
Hogs Norton
hold (don’t hold your breath)
home (an Englishman’s home is his castle)
home, James (and don’t spare the horses)
hooligan
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)
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 goes the enemy?
Hoyle, according to
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 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
imbecile
immolate
I’m talking to the butcher, not to the block
in a nutshell
in Annie’s room, up
in Dicky’s meadow
in the swim
incunabula
Indian summer
(fingernails) in mourning for the cat
inoperative statement
I resemble that remark
— is dead but won’t lie down
I see, said the blind man
is your father a glazier?
it’s raining in London
it takes two to tango
itching palm
itchy feet
it’s (all) Greek to me
I’ve been thrown out of better places than this
I’ve got the time if you’ve got the inclination
ivory tower


J
jingo
job (that job’s jobbed)
Joe Bloggs
Joe Six-Pack
Joe Soap
Johnny Onions
jolly hockey stick(s)
Joneses, to keep up with the
jot – tittle


K
to keep up with the Joneses
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
kiss cam
kitchen sink, everything but the
kite, to fly a
knight in shining armour
to knock into a cocked hat
to know one’s onions
Kruschen (that, or the, Kruschen feeling)


L
Lady Blamey
land of Nod
to lark about
last, to stick to one’s
to lead apes in hell
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
like a cat on hot bricks
like a cat on a hot tin roof
like one o’clock
like pulling teeth
like the wreck of the Hesperus
like watching paint dry
Lilywhite’s party
Linus blanket
little man, you’ve had a busy day
little old ladies in tennis shoes
little rabbits have big ears
liver, to wash the milk off one’s
Liverpudlian
lobster
loco-foco
locust
all Lombard Street to a China orange
to look like a pox doctor’s clerk
to look like something the cat has brought in
look (mum, or ma), no hands!
loose cannon
to lose one’s marbles
love (no love lost)
lucky as a bastard on Father’s Day
lupus
lurch, to leave in the


M
Maconochie
(as) mad as a hatter
(as) mad as a March hare
madding crowd, far from the
madeleine
magpiety
mahogany, to amputate one’s
maiden’s prayer, the answer to
to make a hash of something
to make (both) ends meet
to make no bones about something
Mamamouchi
MAMIL
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
marines, tell that to the
marronnier – old chestnut
marrowsky
maudlin
Maundy
Mayday
mayonnaise
meat (one man’s meat is another man’s poison)
merrythought – wishbone
mess of pottage
mice and men, of
midinette
midnight oil, to burn the
milk (to wash the milk off one’s liver)
milliner
a millstone round someone’s neck
milquetoast
Miss – Ms
Miss Otis regrets
to miss the bus
Moab
money for old rope
moon, once in a blue
moon, over the
moonraker
moonshine
more camp than a row of tents
moron
mortal coil, this
Morton’s fork
Mother Carey’s chicken
Mothering Sunday
Mr – Mrs
Mrs Grundy
Ms (combination of Mrs and Miss)
Mummerset
muttons, to return to one’s
myrmidon
mystery bag


N
nail, on the
to nail (to the counter)
neither fish nor fowl
nice but dim
nightcap
nines, dressed to the
nod (a nod is as good as a wink)
no love lost
no man’s land
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 cat in hell’s chance
not the only pebble on the beach
not to be able to fight one’s way out of a paper bag
nul points
nutshell, in a


O
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
one from column A (and) one from column B
on the blanket
on the dole
on the nail
on the side of the angels
on the spur of the moment
once in a blue moon
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
orange (all Lombard Street to a China orange)
ordeal
out of one’s skull
out of the blue
over the moon
over the top
owlhoot
Oxford comma
oxygen
oxymoron
oyster, the world is one’s


P
padoodle
to paint the town red
pale, beyond the
pandemonium
panjandrum
paparazzi
paper bag (not to be able to fight one’s way out of a paper bag)
paranoid (even paranoids have enemies)
paraphernalia
part and parcel
pastiche – pastis
Paul Pry
to pay through the nose
peaceable kingdom
pebble (the only pebble on the beach)
pedigree
peeping Tom
pen (the pen is mightier than the sword)
penny (the penny dropped)
petrichor
Philip (to appeal from Philip drunk to Philip sober)
philtrum
picnic
picnic (a sandwich short of a picnic)
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
pillar to post, from
pineapple, the rough end of the
pink
pin-up girl
pip (to squeeze until the pips squeak)
pipe dream
piping hot
place in the sun
plain vanilla
to play gooseberry
to play possum
to play to the gallery
pogue
point-blank
poison (one man’s meat is another man’s poison)
Pollyanna
Pooh-Bah
(as) poor as a church mouse
port – starboard
posh
postal, to go
POTUS
poulet
pour encourager les autres
to pour oil on troubled waters
pox doctor’s clerk
pregnant
pregnant and barefoot(ed)
the proof of the pudding is in the eating
P’s and Q’s
public enemy number one
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
pup, to sell a
to push up daisies
put a sock in it
to put on one’s thinking cap


Q
Queen (to take the (King’s/Queen’s) shilling)
(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
ranz-des-vaches
rat, to smell a
to read the riot act
real George
the real Simon Pure
red, to paint the town
red herring
red top
reseda
to return to one’s muttons
rhesus
Richard’s himself again
Richard Snary
rift in the lute
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
robot
Roland (a Roland for an Oliver)
roost, to rule the
rôti sans pareil – turducken
Rotten row
the rough end of the pineapple
rugby, racing and beer
—— rule(s) OK
to rule the roost
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
to save the day
saved by the bell – sauvé par le gong
say boo to a goose, wouldn’t
schoolgirl complexion
Scouse
Scout’s honour
sea (between the devil and the deep blue sea)
season
to see a man about a dog
to see which way the cat jumps
see you later, agitator
to sell a pup
to sell down the river
to send to Coventry
to send up the river
serendipity
to set the Thames on fire
to settle someone’s hash
shambles
Shank’s pony
sheep, black
shell-like (a word in your shell-like)
shell out
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 of a —— (mentally deficient, slightly crazy)
short shrift
shoulder, a chip on one’s
shoulder, the cold
show a leg
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
sirloin
sixes and sevens, at
six-hat and fifty-shirt
sixty-four (thousand) dollar question
a skeleton at the feast
skin (by the skin of one’s teeth)
skinflint
skull (out of one’s skull)
slapstick
Slav – slave
to sleep like a top
the Slough of Despond
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
soccer
social distancing
sock (to pull one’s socks up)
sock (put a sock in it)
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)
spare the rod and spoil the child
spick and span
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
spud
spur of the moment, on the
to squeeze a nickel until the Indian is riding the buffalo
to squeeze until the pips squeak
squid (you can’t tell the mind of a squid)
stalking horse
stand and grow good
starboard – port
staycation
to steal someone’s thunder
stepmother ((as) cold as a stepmother’s breath)
stick it up your jumper
to stick to one’s last
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
sun, place in the
svengali
one swallow does not make a summer
to swap horses in midstream/while crossing a stream
to sweat like a pig
swim, in the
swoop, at one fell


T
tabloid (1)
tabloid (2)
tace is Latin for candle
take me to your leader (demand made by an extraterrestrial)
to take the (King’s/Queen’s) shilling
to take time by the forelock
to talk a glass eye to sleep
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 job’s jobbed
that Kruschen feeling
that schoolgirl complexion
the answer to a maiden’s prayer
the bee’s knees
the books won’t freeze
the cat’s whiskers
the Clapham Sect
the cold shoulder
the cup that cheers
the devil to pay
the dog’s letter
the enemy within
the full monty
the funny things you see when you haven’t got your gun
the (great) god Bingo
the higher the fewer (answer to why is a mouse when it spins?)
the Kruschen feeling
the land of Nod
the man on the Clapham omnibus
the man outside Hoyt’s
the only pebble on the beach
the pen is mightier than the sword
the penny dropped
the proof of the pudding is in the eating
the real Simon Pure
(there’s) trouble at t’mill
the right hand doesn’t know what the left hand’s doing
the rough end of the pineapple
the skin of one’s teeth
the Slough of Despond
the straight and narrow
the things I’ve done for England
the things you see when you haven’t got your gun
the toast of the town
(all) the world and his wife
the world is one’s oyster
(as) thick as thieves
the things you see when you haven’t got your gun
thinking cap
thirteen to the dozen
this mortal coil
thrown out of better places than this
thunder, to steal someone’s
time (to take time by the forelock)
time flies? you cannot: they go too fast
tinker (not to give a tinker’s damn)
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
to toilet-paper
Tom Mix in Cement
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)
to toss in a blanket
to the nines, dressed
tour d’ivoire – ivory tower
town red, to paint the
to T.P.
trick or treat
(there’s) trouble at t’mill
trumpery
trumpeter (one’s trumpeter is dead)
tulip
turban
turducken – rôti sans pareil
to turn a blind eye
two is company, three is a crowd
(Yorkshire) tyke


U
une tempête dans un verre d’eau
to unfriend
up in Annie’s room
up the river


V
valentine
vanilla sex
Vicar of Bray
virtus dormitiva


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
wet blanket
to wet one’s whistle
where’s your white stick?
we’ve got the time if you’ve got the inclination
who stole your scone?
why is a mouse when it spins?
white poppy
(white) rabbit(s) (good-luck incantation)
who’s for tennis?
who’s robbing this coach?
who’s robbing this train?
who’s ‘she’—the cat’s mother?
widow’s cruse
Will (black, or dark, over Bill’s, or Will’s, mother’s)
window
wink (a nod is as good as a wink)
wishbone – merrythought
(with) tongue in cheek
Witham
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
wouldn’t say boo to a goose
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
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 mother wear army boots
you, too, can have a body like mine
you’ve shot your granny


miscellany
a 19th-century document on English phrases
19th-century nicknames for London newspapers
‘Douce France’ (song by Charles Trenet)
Eating in the Romance languages
French pig idioms
Galloglossia
The language of domination
On biblical translations: “what is lacking” vs. “the number of fools”
Our lunatic contributor
‘Wuthering Heights’