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

Read More

the origin of ‘Kilroy’?

Sgt Francis J. Kilroy’s surname, first written in 1943 by his friend Sgt James Maloney (source: Army Public Relations, in the Tucson Daily Citizen, 8 Nov. 1945)

Read More

early instances of ‘Kilroy’

first recorded at Kearns air force base and Salt Lake City, both in Utah, in June and July 1945; originally seen merely as an amusing legend

Read More

meaning and origin of ‘Paul Pry’

UK, 1826—from the eponymous character played by John Liston in a comedy by John Poole, which premiered at the Haymarket Theatre, London, on 13th September 1825

Read More

origin of ‘nosey parker’

UK, late 19th century—apparently with reference to a probably fictitious individual named Parker, taken as the type of someone inquisitive

Read More

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

Read More

origin of ‘simon-pure’

1790—from the name of a Quaker who must prove his identity against an impostor’s claims in ‘A Bold Stroke for a Wife’ (1718), a comedy by Susanna Centlivre

Read More