‘the thick plottens’: meaning and origin

USA, 1883—deliberate transposition of the initial consonants of ‘plot’ and ‘thickens’ in ‘the plot thickens’—‘the plot thickens’, attested in 1672, means: the storyline becomes more complex or convoluted

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‘a Jap on Anzac Day’: meanings and origin

Australia, 1973—used of anything that is absolutely unacceptable, and of any disagreeable situation or experience—‘Jap’: derogatory shortening of ‘Japanese’—Anzac Day: commemoration of the landing of the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps in the Gallipoli Peninsula in 1915

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‘more hide than Jessie’: meaning and origin

Australia, 1919—an excess of effrontery—puns on two meanings of ‘hide’ (the skin of an animal – effrontery) and refers to ‘Jessie’, the name of an elephant that was kept in the zoological gardens of Sydney, New South Wales

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‘to go ballistic’: meanings and origin

1980s—to become wildly or explosively angry; to become highly excited or enthusiastic; to intensify rapidly and especially alarmingly—refers to the failure of a guided missile’s guidance system (1966)

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‘beauty sleep’: meanings and origin

UK, 1828—sleep, especially taken before midnight, assumed to be necessary to keep one looking healthy and attractive; any extra sleep—sleep taken before midnight is popularly thought to be most restful

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‘asphalt jungle’ | ‘concrete jungle’

USA—‘asphalt jungle’ 1920—‘concrete jungle’ 1924—designate a city or urban area which has a high density of large, unattractive, modern buildings and is perceived as an unpleasant living environment

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notes on the phrase ‘lorem ipsum’

a sample text beginning with ‘lorem ipsum’, based on jumbled elements from Cicero’s De Finibus Bonorum et Malorum—‘lorem ipsum’: arbitrary clipping of the first syllable of ‘dolorem ipsum’ in Cicero’s text

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‘loony bin’: meaning and origin

1909 to 1923 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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