‘dumbsize’: meaning and origin

USA, 1992—to reduce staff numbers to levels so low that work can no longer be carried out effectively—portmanteau, coined by the Trends Research Institute, combining the adjective ‘dumb’, meaning ‘stupid’, and the verb ‘downsize’

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‘bang for the buck’: meaning and origin

USA, 1953—value for money, return on an investment—originally used of military spending on nuclear weapons—‘bang’ denotes a nuclear explosion, ‘buck’ denotes a dollar

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‘Jesus Hilton’: meaning and origin

Australia—familiar name of St Vincent’s Private Hospital, Sydney—‘Jesus’ refers to the fact that the hospital is operated by a religious organisation—‘Hilton’ alludes to the hospital’s plushness

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‘a penny soul never came to twopence’

UK, 1844—extreme meanness never made anyone better off—compare Book of Proverbs, 11:24: “There is one who scatters, yet increases more; and there is one who withholds more than is right, but it leads to poverty.”

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