‘blouson noir’: meaning and origin

in French contexts: a young person, especially a young man, belonging to a youth subculture of the 1950s and 1960s—UK, 1959—from the noun ‘blouson’ (a short jacket) and the adjective ‘noir’ (black)

Read More

‘ginger group’: meaning and origin

a group within a political party or other organisation, which presses for stronger or more radical policy or action—UK, 1916—the image is of providing ‘ginger’ (i.e., vigour) in a party or organisation

Read More

‘yellow peril’: meaning and origin

the political, military or economical threat regarded as being posed by certain peoples of South-East and East Asia, especially the Chinese and the Japanese—UK, 1895—loan translation from French ‘péril jaune’

Read More

‘pizza face’: meaning and origin

a person with facial acne—Californian high-school slang, 1963—in this expression, the pimples caused by facial acne are likened to slices of pepperoni on a pizza

Read More

‘panda’ (as applied to a pedestrian crossing)

UK, 1962—a type of pedestrian crossing distinguished by black-and-white chevrons marked on the road, and having traffic warning lights activated by people wishing to cross—alludes to the black-and-white fur of the giant panda

Read More