‘to pile Pelion upon Ossa’: meanings and origin

1609—to add to what is already great, also to add difficulty to difficulty—Pelion and Ossa are two mountains in Thessaly—in Greek mythology, two giants, Otus and Ephialtes, tried to pile Pelion and Ossa on Olympus in order to reach the gods and overthrow them

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‘Pip, Squeak and Wilfred’: meaning and origin

UK, 1920—a group of three objects or persons—alludes to Pip, Squeak and Wilfred, a trio of animal characters featured in a children’s comic strip published in The Daily Mirror (London) from 1919 onwards

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‘wood-and-water joey’: meaning and origin

Australia, 1847—an odd-job man—‘wood-and-water’ alludes to the phrase ‘hewer of wood and drawer of water’, designating a labourer of the lowest kind—‘joey’ is perhaps the noun denoting a young kangaroo, and by extension anything young or small

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‘neatnik’: meaning and origin

USA, 1959—a very tidy, well-organised person—a blend of the adjective ‘neat’ and of the noun ‘beatnik’—originally occurred chiefly in contrast to ‘beatnik’

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a disparaging term: ‘Corbynista’

UK, 2015—(depreciative) a supporter of Jeremy Corbyn, Leader of the Labour Party and Leader of the Opposition from 2015 to 2020—coined after nouns such as ‘Sandinista’—intended to liken Corbyn’s supporters at best to radical socialists and at worst to cultists

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‘Madchester’: meaning and origin

UK, 1989—refers to Manchester, in north-western England, as a centre of popular music and club subculture in Britain in the late 1980s and early 1990s—blend of ‘mad’ and ‘Manchester’

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‘porky’ (rhyming slang for ‘lie’)

In British English, the noun ‘porky’ (also ‘porkie’) is short for ‘porky pie’ (also ‘porkie pie’), which is an alteration of ‘pork pie’, rhyming slang for the noun ‘lie’.

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attributive use of ‘postcode’

UK, 1993—meaning: influenced or determined by a person’s locality or postal address—in phrases such as ‘postcode discrimination’—frequently with reference to the unequal provision of healthcare

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