the probable origin of ‘monkey business’

UK, 1835—mischievous or deceitful behaviour—alludes to the proverbial playfulness of monkeys—probably modelled on Bengali ‘bãdrāmi’; cf. modern Sanskrit ‘vānara-karman’, from ‘vānara’ (monkey) and ‘karman’ (action, work, employment)

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meaning and origin of ‘the milk in the coconut’

‘the milk in the coconut’: a puzzling fact or circumstance; alludes to the question of how the milk got into the coconut—of British-English origin (1832), not of American-English origin as stated by the Oxford English Dictionary

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meanings and origin of ‘dead-cat bounce’

from the notion that even a dead cat will bounce if dropped from a sufficient height—UK, 1981: a rapid fall in the stock market with hardly any reaction—USA, 1985: a rapid but short-lived recovery in the stock market after a sharp fall—hence, 1992: any spurious success

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‘gung ho’ and American admiration for communist China

from Chinese ‘gōnghé’, short for ‘Zhōngguó Gōngyè Hézuò Shè’ (Chinese Industrial Cooperative Society)—interpreted as a slogan meaning ‘work together’ (USA, 1941)—adopted by Evans F. Carlson, commander of the 2nd Marine Raider Battalion (1942)

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an inquiry into the various meanings of ‘green man’

three meanings: 1/ in outdoor pageants: a man dressed in greenery, representing a wild man of the woods—2/ in inn names and signs: a forester—3/ in medieval English churches: a representation of a man’s face composed of, surrounded by, or sprouting foliage or branches

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origin of ‘the end of civilization as we know it’

first recorded in the United Kingdom in 1914, with reference to the civilizational implication of the German invasion of Belgium at the beginning of World War One; therefore, not first used by Orson Welles in Citizen Kane (1941)

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meaning and origin of ‘Dutch auction’

UK, 1788—denotes an auction in which the price is lowered by stages until a buyer is found—said to have been invented by the Dutch specifically as the best solution to selling tulip bulbs

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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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