‘couldn’t organise a piss-up in a brewery’

In British slang, the noun ‘piss-up’ denotes ‘a heavy drinking bout’, and the phrase ‘couldn’t organise a piss-up in a brewery’ and variants mean ‘is’, or ‘are’, or ‘am’, ‘incapable of organising the simplest event, task, etc.’—phrase first recorded in 1980.

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the origin of ‘soap opera’

US, 1938—‘soap’: from early sponsors of such radio serials, often soap manufacturers—‘opera’: from the scale of dramatic incident that happens in these programs

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origin of ‘bogart’ (to monopolise)

from ‘Don’t Bogart That Joint’ (1968), song by Fraternity of Man—alludes to the way Humphrey Bogart held a cigarette for long dialogues without smoking it

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the story of the fedora

US, 1883—from the craze generated by ‘Fédora’, an 1882 drama by Victorien Sardou and the name of its heroine, played in early productions by Sarah Bernhardt

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the rise of the ‘pin-up girl’

‘pin-up’—US, 1941, in ‘pin-up girl’, denoting a woman being the subject of a picture that a serviceman displays on a locker-door, on a wall, etc.

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a nod is as good as a wink

‘a nod’s as good as a wink (to a blind horse)’ 18th century—acknowledges that a hint or suggestion has been understood without the need of further elaboration

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