meaning and origin of ‘to be unable to run a whelk stall’

‘to be unable to run a whelk stall’ and variants: to be incapable of managing the simplest task or enterprise—coined by John Elliot Burns (1858-1943), English trade unionist and politician, in the 1894 New Year’s address to his constituents of Battersea

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origin of ‘apple polisher’ (a person who curries favour)

USA—‘apple polisher’ (1918): a person who curries favour with a superior; ‘apple polishing’ (1926): (an instance of) currying favour—with reference to the former practice of bringing a shiny apple as a gift to one’s teacher

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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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origin of ‘doggy bag’ (to take home leftover food)

USA, 1950s—The noun ‘doggy (or doggie) bag (or pack)’ denotes a bag, provided on request by the management of a restaurant, in which a diner may take home any leftovers; apparently, these leftovers were originally intended for the diner’s pet dog.

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‘maelstrom’ (a whirlpool off the west coast of Norway)

late 16th century—from early modern Dutch ‘maelstrom’ (now ‘maalstroom’)—originally a proper name designating a powerful whirlpool in the Arctic Ocean, off the west coast of Norway, which was formerly supposed to suck in and destroy all vessels within a wide radius

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