‘to clutch the pearls’: meaning and origin

to react with shock or dismay, especially in response to something considered immoral, underhand or vulgar—USA, 1990—from an episode of the sketch-comedy television series In Living Color, broadcast on 15th April 1990

Read More

‘simples’: meaning and origin

interjection used to suggest that something can be done or understood with no difficulty—UK, 2009—from the catchword uttered by Aleksandr Orlov, an animated Russian meerkat, in a television advertising campaign for comparethemarket.com

Read More

‘Kensington Gore’ (as applied to artificial blood)

UK, 1971—a pun on ‘Kensington Gore’, the name of a thoroughfare in London, and on the noun ‘gore’, denoting blood shed from a wound—it is unclear whether ‘Kensington Gore’ (as applied to artificial blood) was originally a trademark

Read More

‘mockumentary’: meaning and early occurrences

denotes a film, television programme, etc., which adopts the form of a serious documentary in order to satirise its subject—apparently first used (and perhaps coined) in 1952 by the Canadian television producer Ross McLean

Read More

‘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

Read More

‘may your chooks turn into emus and kick your dunny down’

Australia, 1972—a jocular curse—the Australian National Dictionary Centre explains that this phrase “recalls an earlier time when many Australians kept chooks (domestic chickens) in the backyard and the dunny was a separate outhouse”

Read More