origin of ‘to leave in the lurch’

to desert someone in trouble—late 16th cent.—from French ‘lourche’, which denoted a game resembling backgammon and was used as an adjective meaning discomfited

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the origin of ‘spud’ (potato)

The noun ‘spud’, originally the name for the digging implement used to dig up potatoes, was applied to the latter in the 19th century.

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between the devil and the deep blue sea

early 17th century, with ‘the Dead Sea’ and ‘the deep sea’—originated in the image of a choice between damnation (‘the Devil’) and drowning (‘the sea’)

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meaning and origin of ‘the devil to pay’

refers to a person making a pact with the Devil: the heavy price has to be paid in the end—unrelated to the nautical phrase ‘the devil to pay and no pitch hot’

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meanings and origin of ‘Mummerset’

UK, 1915—humorous blend of the common noun ‘mummer’ and of the name ‘Somerset’—denotes a pseudo-rustic dialect used by actors and an imaginary rustic county.

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meanings of ‘up in Annie’s room’

late 1910s: an answer to an enquiry as to the whereabouts of someone who cannot be found—1930s: the space at the top of the dartboard where scores are doubled

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