‘hellzapoppin’’: meaning and origin

USA, 1896—one-word form representing a colloquial pronunciation of the phrase ‘hell’s a poppin’’ (1875)—meaning: ‘events are unfolding in a chaotic manner’; ‘a state of confusion and disarray is taking hold’—the verb ‘pop’ means ‘to suddenly break open’

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‘it’s moments like these’ | ‘Mintie’

Australia, late 1920s—With reference to the slogan used in newspaper advertisements for Minties (peppermint-flavoured sweets), the phrase ‘it’s moments like these’ is applied to anyone in extremity, and the name ‘Mintie’ denotes a source of comfort.

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‘lower than a snake’s belly’: meaning and origin

USA, 1893—utterly despicable—jocular extension of ‘lower than a snake’—refers to the use of ‘low’ to mean ‘despicable’, and to the use of ‘snake’ to denote ‘a treacherous or deceitful person’

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‘earworm’: meanings and origin

USA, 1982—a catchy song or melody that keeps repeating in one’s mind, especially to the point of irritation—loan translation from German ‘Ohrwurm’—original meaning (1598): an earwig

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‘everything’s apples’: meaning and origin

Australia, 1941—‘apples’ is used in phrases such as ‘everything’s apples’, meaning ‘everything is all right’—perhaps from ‘apple-pie order’—may have originated in the Australian armed forces’ slang during World War II

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‘to make a Virginia fence’: meaning and origin

North-American colonies, 1737—to walk in a swerving, unstable manner—especially used of an inebriated person’s gait—refers to ‘Virginia fence’, denoting a fence consisting of sets of wooden rails that interlock in a zigzag fashion

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‘Hughie’ (Australian usage): meanings and origin

1906—a familiar name jocularly given to a fanciful deity reputed to be in command of the weather—especially occurs in the phrase ‘send it down, Hughie!’, used to ask that deity to send the rain down from the heavens—also, in the surfers’ lingo: the god of the waves

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