meanings of ‘Tom Tiddler’s ground’

a game in which the player who has the role of Tom Tiddler defends his territory against the others, who try to steal his money—hence a source of easy money

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origin of ‘the Slough of Despond’

the name of a deep boggy place at the beginning of Christian’s journey to the Celestial City in ‘The Pilgrim’s Progress’ (1678), by John Bunyan

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tour d’ivoire – ivory tower

1837—used by Sainte-Beuve to describe French poet Vigny’s seclusion in a turret room and preoccupation with inspiration unconnected with practical matters

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origin of ‘to break the ice’

from the image of breaking the frozen surface of a river in order to make a passage for boats – probably from Latin ‘scindere glaciem’, in Erasmus’s Adages

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some British uses of ‘the enemy within’

a threat within a community, nation, etc., as distinct from an external enemy—infamously used of British miners’ leaders by Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher in 1984

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meaning and origin of ‘Vicar of Bray’

one who changes their principles to suit the circumstances—from a vicar who was twice a Catholic and twice a Protestant from Henry VIII to Elizabeth I’s reigns

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origin of ‘Froggy’ (French)

mid-19th cent.—perhaps from a specific application of the general term of abuse ‘Frog’, aided by the shared initial consonant cluster in ‘French’ and ‘frog’

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origin of ‘all my eye and Betty Martin’

second half of the 18th century—a mere fanciful extension of ‘all my eye’—maintained in a sort of artificial life by persistent conjectures about its origin

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