‘loony bin’: meaning and origin

1913 and 1921 in stories by English author P. G. Wodehouse—a facetious appellation for a home or hospital for people with mental illnesses—‘loony’: shortened form of ‘lunatic’

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‘to nail one’s colours to the mast’: meanings and origin

UK, 1808—to make one’s beliefs or intentions plain—from the former practice of nailing an ensign to the mast of a ship, after damage during battle resulted in the ship’s colours no longer being clearly displayed, which otherwise might have been interpreted as a signal of surrender

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‘Vaseline Valley’: meaning and origin

Australia, 1982—a stretch of Oxford Street, in Sydney, which is the city’s main gay district—refers to the use of Vaseline to ease anal intercourse, and based on the alliteration in /v/

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‘Jimmy Woodser’: meaning and origin

Australia, 1876—a person drinking alone at a bar; a drink taken alone—origin unknown—perhaps related to ‘Johnny Warder’, denoting “an idle drunkard who hangs about pub corners looking for a drink”

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‘spit and sawdust’: meaning and origin

UK, 1928—of a public-house: very basic and lacking in comforts—refers to the former practice of covering the floor of a public-house with sawdust into which customers spat

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history of the noun ‘honeymoon’

1546—originally designated the period of time following a wedding, and arose from the comparison of the mutual affection of newly-married persons to the changing moon, which is no sooner full than it begins to wane

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