‘Queen Anne’s fan’: meaning and early occurrences

UK, 1883—a gesture of derision made by putting one’s thumb to one’s nose and outspreading the fingers like a fan; can be intensified by joining the tip of the little finger to the thumb of the other hand, whose fingers are also outspread fanwise—the motivation for the choice of ‘Queen Anne’ is unknown

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‘lager lout’: meaning and origin

UK, 1987—a young man who behaves in an unpleasant or aggressive manner as a result of drinking (typically lager) excessively—lager, a pale beer, is favoured by the young as opposed to the dark, traditional bitter English beer

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‘coconut (black)’: meaning and origin

Australia, 1981—used by some Aborigines of those who are considered to have betrayed their Aboriginal identity in order to be accepted into the white Australian society—the image is that (like the coconut, dark on the outside, but white on the inside) those Aboriginal ‘betrayers’ are outwardly black, but inwardly white

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‘nanny state’: meanings and origins

the government or its policies viewed as overprotective or as interfering unduly with personal choice; a state characterised as having such a government—first coined in 1952 by U.S. journalist Dorothy Thompson—recoined in 1965 by British politician Iain Macleod

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