meanings of ‘up in Annie’s room’

late 1910s: an answer to an enquiry as to the whereabouts of someone who cannot be found—1930s: the space at the top of the dartboard where scores are doubled

Read More

origin of ‘skinflint’

attested 1699—from the hyperbolical phrase ‘to skin a flint’ (1656)—cf. ‘to skin a flea for its hide and tallow’ and French ‘tondre un œuf’ (‘to shave an egg’)

Read More

origin of ‘simon-pure’

1790—from the name of a Quaker who must prove his identity against an impostor’s claims in ‘A Bold Stroke for a Wife’ (1718), a comedy by Susanna Centlivre

Read More

the British use of ‘dole’

(British) benefit paid by the state to the unemployed (1919)—from Middle-English sense ‘food or money given in charity’—from primary sense ‘portion’, ‘share’

Read More

origin of ‘paraphernalia’

from Medieval Latin ‘paraphernalia’, short for ‘paraphernalia bona’, ‘married woman’s property’, i.e. the goods which a bride brings over and above her dowry

Read More