‘to pull out all the stops’: meaning and origin

to do everything possible to achieve a result or effect—UK, 1865 (as ‘to pull out a few more stops’)—alludes to pulling out all the stops of an organ in order to produce a full and thrilling sound

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‘nom de disc’: meaning and origin

an assumed name under which a person records a disc—UK, 1931—coined on the pattern of phrases such as ‘nom de théâtre’ and ‘nom de plume’

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a British phrase: ‘to go like a bomb’

from the image of a speeding explosive projectile—primary meaning (of a motorcar, an aircraft, a motorcycle, an animal, a person): to move very fast—later (also ‘to go down like a bomb’ and ‘to go down a bomb’): to be very successful or popular

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‘Hooray Henry’: meaning and origin

a lively but ineffectual young upper-class man—UK, 1959—apparently coined in the 1950s by the British jazz manager James Godbolt after ‘Hoorah Henry’, coined in 1936 by the U.S. author Alfred Damon Runyon

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‘Madchester’: meaning and origin

UK, 1989—refers to Manchester, in north-western England, as a centre of popular music and club subculture in Britain in the late 1980s and early 1990s—blend of ‘mad’ and ‘Manchester’

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‘earworm’: meanings and origin

USA, 1982—a catchy song or melody that keeps repeating in one’s mind, especially to the point of irritation—loan translation from German ‘Ohrwurm’—original meaning (1598): an earwig

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‘swellegant’: meaning and origin

USA, 1901—wonderfully stylish, elegant or fashionable—a blend of ‘swell’ and ‘elegant’—popularised by its use in the song Well, Did You Evah!, interpreted by Bing Crosby and Frank Sinatra in the 1956 film High Society

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‘grotty’: meaning and origin

UK—a general term of disapproval, meaning ‘unpleasant’, ‘dirty’, ‘nasty’, ‘ugly’, etc.—shortened form of ‘grotesque’—first recorded in (and popularised by) A Hard Day’s Night (1964), a musical comedy film starring the Beatles

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‘another brick in the wall’: meanings and origin

a small component of a much larger structure, system or process; an insignificant individual within a large population or community—commonly associated with ‘Another Brick in the Wall’, the title of a three-part composition by the British band Pink Floyd in their 1979 rock opera ‘The Wall’, but has been used since 1867

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