‘yellow peril’: meaning and origin

the political, military or economical threat regarded as being posed by certain peoples of South-East and East Asia, especially the Chinese and the Japanese—UK, 1895—loan translation from French ‘péril jaune’

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‘cannon fodder’ | ‘chair à canon’

soldiers regarded simply as material to be expended in war—‘cannon fodder’ (1847), said to have been coined after German ‘Kanonenfutter’—French ‘chair à canon’ (1814), first used in reference to Napoléon Bonaparte

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notes on ‘no joy without alloy’

also ‘no joy without annoy’—meaning: there is a trace of trouble or difficulty in every pleasure—was already a common proverb in the late sixteenth century

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‘chateau tap-water’ | ‘Château-la-Pompe’

tap-water likened to a grand cru—in reference to ‘château’ in names of wines of superior quality—in French ‘Château-la-Pompe’ (i.e. ‘Château-the-Pump’), ‘pompe’ denotes a device for raising water

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‘Iron Weathercock’ (as applied to Liz Truss)

UK, 2022— translates French ‘girouette de fer’—a derisive nickname for Liz Truss, in reference both to ‘Iron Lady’ (a nickname for Margaret Thatcher) and to Liz Truss’s changing views on a variety of subjects

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‘Generals January and February’: meaning and origin

personify January and February as army commanders, especially in reference to winter as detrimental or destructive to a military campaign—apparently coined by Russian Prince Alexander Menshikov in 1855, during the Crimean War

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‘General Winter’: meaning and origin

personifies the winter season as an army commander, especially in reference to winter as detrimental or destructive to a military campaign—UK, 1777, in reference to the War of American Independence

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