‘life in the fast lane’ and ‘Hotel California’, by the Eagles

Of American-English origin, the phrase life in the fast lane denotes a glamorous or highly pressured lifestyle. It refers to fast lane, meaning a traffic lane, usually that farthest from the outer edge of a motorway or dual carriageway, intended for drivers who wish to overtake slower cars. The earliest figurative use of fast lane […]

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adolescence: ‘the awkward age’ – ‘l’âge ingrat’

UK, 1832—‘the awkward age’: the adolescence, when one is no longer a child but not yet properly grown up, a time of life characterised by physical and emotional changes—translates in French as ‘l’âge ingrat’, ‘the thankless age’

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origin of ‘to have, or to get, egg on one’s face’

USA, 1946—‘to have, or to get, egg on one’s face’: to be, or to get, embarrassed or humiliated by the turn of events—refers either to having eggs thrown at one’s face or to yolk stains left on the face after the careless eating of a soft-boiled egg

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‘handbag’: how Thatcher enriched the English language

‘handbag’: to bully or coerce by subjecting to a forthright verbal assault or criticism—originally used with reference to British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher in The Economist (7 August 1982)—from literal meaning ‘to batter or assault with a handbag’

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origin of ‘handicap’: ‘hand in cap’ (name of a game)

mi-17th century—probably from ‘hand in (the) cap’, used of a sort of game in which players put forfeit money in a cap and then drew from it—later applied to a race between two horses (the better of which carried extra weight), arranged by such rules

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