How a murder popularised ‘sugar daddy’ in 1923.

from ‘heavy-sugar daddy’ (USA, 1923), popularised by the murder of Anna Keenan (a.k.a. Dorothy King), who was a ‘heavy-sugar baby’, i.e., a woman ‘coated’ with ‘sugar’ (i.e., money) by a ‘daddy’ (i.e., an older man)

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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 ‘Dutch treat’ and ‘to go Dutch’

USA—‘to go Dutch’ (1907): to have every participant pay their own expenses, or share expenses equally—via ‘to go Dutch treat’ (1887), from ‘Dutch treat’ (1873): a meal, etc., at which each participant pays their share of the expenses—from a German practice

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the shadowy history of the word ‘silhouette’

1763 in French, 1798 in English—from the name of Étienne de Silhouette (1709-67), Controller-General of Finances in 1759—perhaps because he might have invented the portrait in profile obtained by tracing the outline of a head or figure by means of its shadow

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origin of the Australian phrase ‘Sydney or the bush’

‘Sydney or the bush’: all or nothing (1902)—based on the metaphorical opposition between an easy life in the city and a hard life working in the outback, this phrase was apparently originally used by people risking all on the toss of a coin.

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origin of ‘pub crawl’: political propaganda

British English: a drinking tour of a number of pubs or bars—but first appeared in 1909 with specific reference to an organised form of propaganda consisting in sending a person from pub to pub in order to promote the Conservative cause

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‘to plough one’s own furrow’ – ‘creuser son sillon’

‘to plough a lonely furrow’, or ‘one’s own furrow’ (UK, 1901): to carry on without help, support or companionship—French ‘creuser son sillon’ (‘to dig one’s own furrow’, first used by Voltaire): to carry out with courage and perseverance the task undertaken

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Anglo-Indian origin of ‘loot’ (goods stolen in war)

UK, early 19th century—private property taken from an enemy in war—originally an Anglo-Indian noun, from Hindi ‘lūṭ’, from Sanskrit ‘luṇṭh-‘, ‘to rob’—came to be also used as slang for ‘money’ and to also denote ‘wedding presents’

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a U.S. political term of the 1920s: ‘backroom boys’

The phrase ‘boys in the backroom’, or ‘backroom boys’, appeared in the 1920s as a U.S. political term denoting persons exercising a surreptitious influence. The Oxford English Dictionary is therefore mistaken in saying that it originally denoted, in 1941, persons engaged in research.

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