‘to shoot the cat’: meaning (and origin?)

to vomit, especially from drunkenness—slang, obsolete—UK, 1785—perhaps alludes to the fact that cats are prone to vomit—cf. also the obsolete French verb ‘renarder’, to vomit, from the noun ‘renard’, denoting a fox

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‘charity dame’ | ‘charity moll’: meaning and origin

Australia—‘charity dame’ 1949—‘charity moll’ 1962—an amateur prostitute who charges less than the usual rate—from ‘Moll’, pet form of the female forename ‘Mary’, the noun ‘moll’ has long been used to designate a prostitute

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Australian terms referring to left-handedness

left-handed: ‘molly-handed’, ‘mauldy’, ‘molly-dooked’—a left-handed person: ‘molly-hander’, ‘mauldy’, ‘molly-dook’—‘molly’ and ‘mauldy’ may derive from ‘mauley’, denoting the hand or fist; ‘dook’ is ‘duke’, denoting the hand or fist

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‘the big smoke’: meanings and origins

Australian English, 1848: any urban area (said to be of Aboriginal origin)—Irish and British English, 1862: Dublin and London—alludes to smoke as characteristic of an urban area

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‘wood-and-water joey’: meaning and origin

Australia, 1847—an odd-job man—‘wood-and-water’ alludes to the phrase ‘hewer of wood and drawer of water’, designating a labourer of the lowest kind—‘joey’ is perhaps the noun denoting a young kangaroo, and by extension anything young or small

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‘Spam medal’: meaning and origin

military slang, 1944—a medal awarded to all members of a force—especially the 1939-1945 Star, awarded to British service personnel who took part in WWII—refers to the ubiquitousness of Spam as a foodstuff

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