‘to study the history of the four kings’ (to play cards)

from ‘the history of the four kings’, punning on ‘the four kings’ (the four playing cards in a pack, each bearing a representation of a king) and ‘the Book of Kings’ (the name of two, formerly four, books of the Old Testament)

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‘a safe pair of hands’: meanings and origin

UK, 1921—someone who is capable, reliable or trustworthy in the management of a situation—1854: originated in cricket, with reference to skill and reliability in catching a ball—later applied to rugby players (1894) and to goalkeepers in soccer (1899)

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a British phrase: ‘to go like a bomb’

from the image of a speeding explosive projectile—primary meaning (of a motorcar, an aircraft, a motorcycle, an animal, a person): to move very fast—later (also ‘to go down like a bomb’ and ‘to go down a bomb’): to be very successful or popular

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‘soapedy’: meaning and origin

a television programme or cinema film exhibiting qualities of both drama and comedy—USA, 1998—blend of ‘soap (opera)’, or of ‘soaper’, and of ‘comedy’—coined on various occasions by different persons, independently from one another

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‘Johnny Canuck’: meanings and origin

USA, 1858—a personification of the Canadian nation; Canadian people collectively; as a count noun: a Canadian—from ‘Canuck’, meaning Canadian—‘Johnny’ is used with modifying word to designate a person of the type, group, profession, etc., specified

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‘to thank one’s lucky stars’: meaning and origin

to be grateful for one’s good fortune—18th century—from the notion that a planet, star or zodiacal constellation influences events and human affairs—this notion had given rise in the 16th century to the phrase ‘to thank (or to curse) one’s stars’

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‘soccer mom’: meaning and origin

USA, 1973—a suburban mother who spends a lot of time taking her children to play soccer or engage in similar activities—popularised during the presidential election campaign of 1996 as designating an influential voting bloc

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‘Hooray Henry’: meaning and origin

a lively but ineffectual young upper-class man—UK, 1959—apparently coined in the 1950s by the British jazz manager James Godbolt after ‘Hoorah Henry’, coined in 1936 by the U.S. author Alfred Damon Runyon

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