‘Johnny Canuck’: meanings and origin

USA, 1858—a personification of the Canadian nation; Canadian people collectively; as a count noun: a Canadian—from ‘Canuck’, meaning Canadian—‘Johnny’ is used with modifying word to designate a person of the type, group, profession, etc., specified

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‘winedot’: meaning and origin

Australia, 1933—an addict of cheap wine or/and of methylated spirits—apparently coined jocularly after ‘Wyandotte’, denoting a domestic chicken of a medium-sized American breed

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‘spud-bashing’: meanings and origin

UK, WWII, army slang—‘spud-bashing’ (noun): potato-peeling; ‘spud-bash’ (verb): to peel potatoes; ‘spud-basher’ (noun): one who peels potatoes—those words have also been used with reference to potato-digging

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figurative uses of ‘hardy annual’

The noun ‘hardy annual’ denotes a plant that can withstand freezing temperatures and which completes its life cycle within a year. In British English, this noun is used figuratively of a thing or a person that reappears continually or at regular intervals.

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‘Noddy suit’: meanings and origin

British-Army slang, 1972: a suit of protective clothing for use in nuclear, biological or chemical attacks—by extension: a suit of protective clothing for use by agricultural employees working with chemical sprays—perhaps refers to ‘Noddy’, a character in the writings of Enid Blyton

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‘the land of fruits and nuts’: meanings and origin

U.S.A, 1932—also ‘the land of nuts and fruits’—a humorous, sometimes derogatory, appellation for the U.S. state of California—refers to California’s agricultural bounties and to Californians regarded as being ‘nuts’, i.e., crazy

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‘flat out like a lizard drinking’: meanings and origin

Australia, 1930—a humorous extended form of ‘flat out’, meaning ‘with the maximum speed or effort’ (apparently with wordplay on ‘flat out’, meaning ‘lying stretched out’)—has occasionally been used in the opposite sense

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‘the first cab off the rank’: meanings and origin

Australia, 1952—the first in line; the first in a series of people or things to arrive or appear; the first to take advantage of an opportunity—refers to cab ranks (i.e., designated areas where taxicabs line up to wait for business), which operate on a first come, first served system

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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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