origin of ‘Wasp’ (‘white Anglo-Saxon Protestant’)

USA, 1956—acronym from ‘white Anglo-Saxon Protestant’—‘Wasp’, or ‘WASP’: a person who belongs to, or is thought of, as being part of a white, upper middle-class, northern European, Protestant group that dominates economic, political and cultural activity in the USA

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‘bag lady’ (whose worldly wealth is in shopping bags)

Of American-English origin, ‘bag lady’, or ‘shopping-bag lady’, denotes a homeless woman, often elderly, who carries her possessions in shopping bags. The earliest instance that I have found is from The Pocono Record (Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania) of 19th June 1971.

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origin of ‘to sit below the salt’

The phrase ‘below the salt’ originated in the social differentiations materialised by the former custom of placing a large saltcellar in the middle of a dining table.

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meaning and origin of ‘Mrs Grundy’

from Speed the Plough (1798), by Thomas Morton; Dame Ashfield is constantly fearing to give occasion for the sneers of Mrs Grundy, her unseen neighbour

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the origin of ‘bully’?

noun (late 17th cent.), perhaps from ‘bull’ (= bovine)—possibly distinct from ‘bully’ (mid-16th cent.), ‘darling’, probably from Middle Dutch ‘boele’, ‘lover’

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