‘Roman holiday’: meaning and origin

an occasion on which enjoyment or profit is derived from the suffering or discomfiture of others—UK, 1836—alludes to the description of a gladiator dying in a Roman arena in Childe Harold’s Pilgrimage (1818), by Byron

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origin of ‘to throw one’s hat in(to) the ring’

UK, 1820—to show willingness to enter into a contest or take up a challenge, especially in business or politics—originally (1804) used in boxing with reference to the custom of throwing a hat into the ring to signal willingness to enter a contest

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“the very pineapple of politeness” and other malapropisms

from the name of Mrs Malaprop, a character who confuses long words in The Rivals (1775), a comedy by the Irish playwright Richard Brinsley Sheridan—character named after ‘malapropos’, from the French locution ‘mal à propos’, literally ‘ill to purpose’

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