‘London to a brick’: meanings and origin

Australia, 1909—(horseracing) a bet is sure to pay off; (in extended use) something is a very strong probability—from the notion that the punter is so confident of winning the bet that he is prepared to put the whole city of London on a horse to win a brick, i.e., a ten-pound note

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‘neighbour(s) from hell’: meaning and early occurrences

UK, 1993—USA, 1987—the words ‘—— from hell’ are suffixed to nouns often referring to everyday life, such as ‘holidays’ and ‘neighbour(s)’, to make phrases denoting an exceptionally unpleasant or bad example or instance of ‘——’

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‘the order of the boot’: meaning and origin

dismissal from employment—UK, 1882, as ‘the noble order of the boot’—‘the boot’ refers to kicking somebody out—the phrase puns on two acceptations of ‘order’: an authoritative command and an institution founded for the purpose of honouring meritorious conduct

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notes on the phrase ‘sing ’em muck’

1928 in Clara Butt: Her Life-Story, by H. W. Ponder—“Sing ’em muck! It’s all they can understand!”: advice given by Australian soprano Nellie Melba to English contralto Clara Butt, who was about to undertake a tour of Australia

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‘the politics of the warm inner glow’: meaning and origin

Australia, 1981—the ideology of the Australian Labor Party’s left wing, “for whom the ultimate test of a policy is the feeling of personal virtuousness to be derived from its espousal”—Labor politician James McClelland claimed to have coined this phrase

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‘better than a poke in the eye with a sharp stick’

British and Irish English, 1833—denotes qualified pleasure—also: ‘to give [someone] a poke in the eye (with a — stick)’, meaning to deprecate [someone]—from ‘a poke in the eye’, denoting something undesirable

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