‘nuppence’: meaning and origin

no money, nothing—UK, 1864, in a text by the British scholar D’Arcy Wentworth Thompson—from ‘n-’ in the determiner ‘no’, meaning ‘not any’, and ‘-uppence’ in ‘tuppence’

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‘squeeze pidgin’: meaning and origin

China, 1849—extortion—from ‘squeeze’, denoting a forced exaction or impost made by a Chinese official or servant, and ‘pidgin’ in its original sense of business

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‘pan-loafy’: meaning and origin

Scotland, 1941—of a person, manner of speaking, etc.: affectedly refined or cultivated, pretentious—from the fact that a pan-loaf (i.e., a loaf baked in a pan or tin, having a hard, smooth crust), being more expensive than a plain loaf, was considered a sign of affluence

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‘pound-noteish’: meaning and origin

UK, 1927—affected, pompous—from ‘pound note’ and the suffix ‘-ish’, meaning ‘having the qualities of’—the image is probably of someone who pretends to be worth a pound sterling when they are actually worth less

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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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attributive use of ‘postcode’

UK, 1993—meaning: influenced or determined by a person’s locality or postal address—in phrases such as ‘postcode discrimination’—frequently with reference to the unequal provision of healthcare

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‘to drink the Kool-Aid’: meanings and origin

USA, 1978—to commit suicide; to demonstrate unquestioning obedience or loyalty—alludes to a mass suicide, in 1978, by members of the Peoples’ Temple in Jonestown, Guyana, who drank a cyanide-laced drink thought to be similar to Kool-Aid

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‘brown bomber’: meaning and origin

Australia, 1950—a traffic warden in the state of New South Wales—‘brown’ probably refers to the colour of those traffic wardens’ uniform—‘bomber’ may refer to the fact that many of those traffic wardens were originally war veterans; or perhaps to the Australian-English use of the noun ‘bomb’ for an old car

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‘squillion’ | ‘squillionaire’

USA—‘squillion’ (1879): an extremely large but unspecified number, quantity or amount; arbitrary and humorous alteration of ‘million’, ‘billion’, etc.—‘squillionaire’ (1895): a person who has an extremely large but unspecified amount of money

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‘Sloane Ranger’: meaning and origin

UK, 1975—an upper-class and fashionable, but conventional, young woman in London—blend of ‘Sloane Square’, the name of a square located in an affluent area of London, and ‘Lone Ranger’, the name of a well-known hero of western stories and films

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