‘to fall off (the back of) a lorry’ (‘to be stolen’)

UK, 1953, humorous and euphemistic—‘to fall off (the back of) a lorry’: of goods, ‘to be acquired in dubious or unspecified circumstances’, especially ‘to be stolen’—variant with ‘truck’ came into use later in Australian and North American English

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a word invented by Jonathan Swift: ‘yahoo’

‘yahoo’: rude, noisy or violent person—word invented by Jonathan Swift (1667-1745) as the name of a race of brutish creatures resembling men in Gulliver’s Travels (1726)—came to be applied to the orang-utan

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origin of the Australian phrase ‘Sydney or the bush’

‘Sydney or the bush’: all or nothing (1902)—based on the metaphorical opposition between an easy life in the city and a hard life working in the outback, this phrase was apparently originally used by people risking all on the toss of a coin.

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‘six of one and half a dozen of the other’

denotes a situation in which the alternatives are considered equivalent—first recorded, as ‘six of the one and half a dozen of the other’, on 24th April 1790 in the journal of Ralph Clark, a British naval officer—synonym: ‘(as) broad as long’

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‘to plough one’s own furrow’ – ‘creuser son sillon’

‘to plough a lonely furrow’, or ‘one’s own furrow’ (UK, 1901): to carry on without help, support or companionship—French ‘creuser son sillon’ (‘to dig one’s own furrow’, first used by Voltaire): to carry out with courage and perseverance the task undertaken

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origin of the pub-name ‘the Swan with Two Necks’

Alteration of ‘the Swan with Two Nicks’—All the Thames swans belong to the Crown, the Vintners’ Company or the Dyers’ Company. A swan with two nicks belongs to the Vintners’ Company, with one nick to the Dyers’ Company, with no nicks to the Crown.

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the jocular origin of ‘happy as Larry’

from 1857 onwards in Australian newspapers, but apparently of Irish-English origin—the forename ‘Larry’ was probably chosen as a jocular reinforcement, a variant reduplication, of the adjective ‘happy’

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‘happy-clappy’ (cheerful and hand-clapping)

‘happy-clappy’: a member of a Christian group whose worship is marked by enthusiastic participation; composed of ‘happy’ and of the noun ‘clap’ suffixed with ‘-y’—with allusion to the cheerful singing and hand-clapping regarded as typical of charismatic religious services

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