meaning and origin of ‘nothingburger’ and of ‘mouseburger’

‘nothingburger’: a person or thing of no importance, value or substance—‘mouseburger’: a young woman of unexceptional appearance and talents, regarded as timid, dowdy or mousy—from the use of ‘burger’ as the second element in compounds denoting types of hamburger

Read More

‘in clover’: meaning and origin of this phrase

UK, 1710—in ease and luxury—refers to the use of clover as fodder, as explained by Samuel Johnson in A Dictionary of the English Language (1755): “To live in Clover, is to live luxuriously; clover being extremely delicious and fattening to cattle.”

Read More

‘underground mutton’: meanings and origin

Australia, 1900: rabbit meat—later also: rabbits—‘mutton’, denoting a choice meat, was derisively substituted for ‘rabbit’, denoting the inferior meat that had to be eaten when butcher’s meat was too costly

Read More

history of the croque-monsieur

France, 1891; UK, 1908—a sandwich filled with ham and cheese, and toasted or grilled—from ‘croque’, conjugated form of the verb ‘croquer’, to bite, to crunch, and the noun ‘monsieur’ (the reason that this noun was chosen is unknown)

Read More