‘pester power’: meaning and origin

USA, 1979—the children’s ability to pressurise their parents into buying something, or doing something for them, by continuing to ask for it until their parents agree to do it—originally referred to television advertising targeting children

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meaning and origin of the verb ‘MacGyver’

USA, 1992—to make or repair (something) in an improvised or inventive way, making use of whatever items are at hand—also used figuratively—refers to Angus MacGyver, the lead character in the U.S. television series MacGyver (1985-92)

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meaning and origin of ‘nothingburger’ and of ‘mouseburger’

‘nothingburger’: a person or thing of no importance, value or substance—‘mouseburger’: a young woman of unexceptional appearance and talents, regarded as timid, dowdy or mousy—from the use of ‘burger’ as the second element in compounds denoting types of hamburger

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‘car-crash television’: meaning and origin

television programmes that are gratuitously shocking or sensational, or of poor quality—from their eliciting in the viewer a similar horrified fascination to that experienced by people watching scenes of cars crashing

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an offensive phrase: ‘bingo wings’

USA, 1992—the folds of loose skin or fat which hang from the undersides of a person’s upper arms—so named because they are common in older women, who are regarded as the type of person most likely to play bingo

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