‘horror stretch’: meanings and origin

Australia—1954: a very unpleasant experience—originally, 1953: a particularly rough stretch of road on the 6,500-mile round-Australia Redex Reliability Trial of August-September 1953—hence, 1953: any particularly rough stretch of road

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‘Dickless Tracy’: meanings and origin

USA, 1963—a female police officer or a female traffic warden—puns on ‘dick’, slang for a man’s penis, and the name of Dick Tracy, a comic-strip detective created in 1931 by the U.S. cartoonist Chester Gould

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‘grey meanie’: meaning and origin

Australia, 1970—a Melbourne City Council parking officer—the adjective ‘grey’ refers to the colour of those officers’ uniform; the noun ‘meanie’ refers to the nastiness displayed by those officers in the accomplishment of their duties

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‘blue-sky talk’ | ‘blue-sky research’

USA—‘blue-sky talk’ 1900—‘blue-sky research’ 1947—the adjective ‘blue-sky’ is used to mean: (in negative sense) fanciful, hypothetical; (in positive sense) creative or visionary—from the notion of a blue sky as a place free from disturbances or difficulties

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‘gory details’: meaning and origin

informal and often humorous: denotes the explicit or most intimate details of something—originally (USA, 1859) referred to accounts or representations of acts of violence and bloodshed

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‘Tory-lite’: meanings and origin

UK, 1995—a derogatory designation of New Labour, i.e., a right-wing/social democratic trend in Labour thinking and policy, advocated by Tony Blair—‘Tory’: the British Conservative Party; ‘lite’ (phonetic respelling of the adjective ‘light’): a moderated version of something

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notes on ‘queuemanship’

1950—the exercise of ploys and tactics in order to minimise time spent waiting in a queue—composed of the noun ‘queue’ and the suffix ‘-manship’—here, ‘-manship’ does not refer to the skills worthy of a role, as in ‘horsemanship’ and ‘statesmanship’, but to the ploys used to gain the upper hand, as in ‘gamesmanship’

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‘squander-bug’: meanings and origin (British usage)

1943—a devilish insect symbolising reckless extravagance and waste—introduced by the National Savings Committee in a government publicity campaign promoting economy—hence: one who is profligate with money or resources

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‘to pass the parcel’: meaning and origin

UK—(used of a group of people) to keep passing the initiative or responsibility from one person to another, so that no action is taken—refers to a party game in which a gift wrapped in several layers of paper is passed around a circle of players to the accompaniment of music, the losers in successive rounds being those holding the parcel when the accompanying music stops

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