a phrase based on prejudice: ‘Dutch courage’

UK, 1797—strength or confidence gained from drinking alcohol—alludes to the drinking habits ascribed to the Dutch—one of the phrases in which ‘Dutch’ is used derogatorily, largely because of the enmity between the English and the Dutch in the 17th and 18th centuries

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origin of ‘Brownie’ (Girl Scout or Girl Guide)

1916—from ‘brownie’, i.e. a benevolent elf that supposedly haunts houses and does housework secretly—not from the fact that the uniform of the junior Girl Scouts and Girl Guides is brown

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origin of ‘doggy bag’ (to take home leftover food)

USA, 1950s—The noun ‘doggy (or doggie) bag (or pack)’ denotes a bag, provided on request by the management of a restaurant, in which a diner may take home any leftovers; apparently, these leftovers were originally intended for the diner’s pet dog.

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‘maelstrom’ (a whirlpool off the west coast of Norway)

late 16th century—from early modern Dutch ‘maelstrom’ (now ‘maalstroom’)—originally a proper name designating a powerful whirlpool in the Arctic Ocean, off the west coast of Norway, which was formerly supposed to suck in and destroy all vessels within a wide radius

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origin of ‘to have, or to get, egg on one’s face’

USA, 1946—‘to have, or to get, egg on one’s face’: to be, or to get, embarrassed or humiliated by the turn of events—refers either to having eggs thrown at one’s face or to yolk stains left on the face after the careless eating of a soft-boiled egg

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origin of ‘to eat crow’ (to suffer humiliation)

U.S., second half 19th century—from the story (1850) of a man who, having declared that he could eat anything, was challenged to eat crow; the crow he had to eat was seasoned with snuff, so that the man gave up after one bite, saying “I can eat crow, but I’ll be darned if I hanker after it.”

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origin of ‘there is no such thing as a free lunch’

USA, 1939—‘there is’, or ‘ain’t’, ‘no such thing as a free lunch’: everything inevitably involves a cost of some kind—literal meaning of ‘free lunch’ (first half of the 19th century): a lunch provided free of charge in a bar, saloon, etc., as a means of attracting customers

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‘urbi et orbi’ (‘to the city (of Rome) and to the world’)

from classical Latin ‘urbī’, dative of ‘urbs’ (city), and ‘orbī’, dative of ‘orbis’ (orb, circle)—in classical Latin, ‘orbis terrarum’, ‘orbis terrae’, the orb, or circle, of the earth, meant by extension the world, since the ancients regarded the earth as a circular plane or disk

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