‘if my aunt had balls’ | ‘si ma tante en avait’

used to rebuke an unrealistic conditional—USA, 1808: ‘if my aunt had been my uncle, what would have been her gender?’—France, 1843: ‘si ma tante était un homme, ça serait mon oncle’ (‘if my aunt were a man, that would be my uncle’)

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‘Joe Six-Pack’: meaning and origin

a hypothetical ordinary working man—USA, 1970—refers to a man who buys beer in six-packs—apparently coined by a political informant on the blue-collar area of Fields Corner in Dorchester, neighbourhood of Boston, Massachusetts

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‘a word in your shell-like’: meaning and origin

a word in confidence—UK, 1927—‘shell-like’ elliptical for ‘shell-like ear’, which was originally a poetical term associating the shape of the external ear with the graceful convolutions of a small pink seashell

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‘tennis, anyone?’: meaning and origin

theatre—a typical entrance or exit line given to a young man in a superficial drawing-room comedy—USA 1934—but 1908 in a short story evoking the pastimes of members of the leisured class during a stay at a country house

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