‘all roads lead to Rome’: meaning and origin

1793—probably ultimately after post-classical Latin ‘mille viae ducunt homines per saecula Romam…’ (‘a thousand roads lead for ever to Rome the men…’)—the metaphor occurred in A Treatise on the Astrolabe (ca 1391), by Geoffrey Chaucer

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‘Jesus boots’: meanings and origin

American English—1902: bare feet (used of Doukhobors, i.e., members of a Christian sect that originated in Russia, many members of which emigrated to Canada in the late 19th and early 20th centuries)—1965: open-toed leather sandals of a simple or functional style (used of young persons)

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‘parson’s week’: meanings and origin

UK, 1772—a holiday period of thirteen days, from Monday to the Saturday of the following week, humorously regarded as the longest holiday available to a parson who was excused one Sunday’s duties—later also: a holiday period of six days, from Monday to the Saturday of the same week

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‘to sleep in Mother Greenfield’s (lodgings)’

‘to sleep in Mother Greenfield’s’ (tramp slang): to sleep out in the open fields—‘to worship under Dr. Greenfield’: to go for a walk in the countryside rather than to attend a religious service

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‘Eve-teasing’: meaning and origin

India, 1958—euphemistic appellation for verbal or physical sexual harassment of a woman by a man in a public place—refers to Eve, the first woman in the biblical account of the creation of the world, who is seen as a temptress

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‘bark mitzvah’: meaning and origin

USA, 1966—a (13th-birthday) party held for a dog—a blend of ‘bark’ (the sharp explosive cry of a dog), and of ‘bar mitzvah’ (the coming-of-age ceremony for a 13-year-old Jewish boy), or ‘bat mitzvah’ (the equivalent ceremony for a Jewish girl)

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‘false dawn’: meanings and origin

1809—a transient light preceding the true dawn by about an hour, a phenomenon common in Eastern countries—translates Arabic ‘ṣubḥ kāḏib’—figuratively: a hopeful sign that can prove either illusory or authentic

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