‘blood wagon’: meaning and origin

UK—an ambulance (i.e., a vehicle designed to carry sick or injured people)—originally (Royal Air Force slang, 1921): a specially equipped airplane for carrying sick or injured people

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‘grass widow’: meanings and origin

a married woman living apart from her husband (18th century)—originally (16th century) an unmarried woman who has borne an illegitimate child—alludes to a bed of grass as a typical place for illicit sexual intercourse

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‘passion-killer’: meanings and origin

UK—anything which discourages or inhibits sexual activity—originally (1943, British military slang): the sturdy, practical and unattractive underwear issued to female service personnel

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‘Franken-’: meanings and origin

forms nouns with the sense ‘genetically modified ——’; also, occasionally, with the sense ‘—— relating to genetic modification’—first used in 1992 by Paul Lewis to form ‘Frankenfood’—from ‘Frankenstein’, the title character of Mary Shelley’s 1818 novel

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‘Frankenstein food’: meanings and origin

genetically modified food—but had been used earlier by members of Weight Watchers in the sense of food one is addicted to—in reference to ‘Frankenstein; Or, The Modern Prometheus’ (1818), by Mary Shelley

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‘Frankenstein’s monster’: meaning and origin

also ‘Frankenstein’—a creation over which the creator loses control, eventually being destroyed by it—UK, 1822—alludes to ‘Frankenstein; Or, The Modern Prometheus’ (1818), by Mary Shelley

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‘fudge factor’: meaning and origin

a factor speculatively included in a hypothesis or calculation, especially to account for some unquantified but significant phenomenon or to ensure a desired result—USA, 1947

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‘the only game in town’: meaning and origin

the only option worth considering—USA, 1904—from the story (1894) of a man who is so addicted to faro that he takes part in a game despite knowing it to be rigged, because it is the only game available in town

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