‘bullamacow’: meanings and origin

islands of the South Pacific, 1881—cattle, beef, and, by extension, meat of any kind and tinned meat—a combination of the nouns ‘bull’ and ‘cow’

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‘in mothballs’ | ‘out of mothballs’

USA—‘in mothballs’ (1892): in a state or period of inactivity, disuse, reserve, storage or postponement—‘out of mothballs’ (1905): back into activity, into use

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‘motherhood and apple pie’: meaning and origin

USA, 1956—denotes a core principle, value, belief, characteristic, aspect, etc., of the U.S.A. or its citizens—more generally, the nouns ‘motherhood’ and ‘apple pie’ have been juxtaposed in enumerations of things and persons exemplifying U.S. values

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‘meat and two veg’: meanings and early occurrences

UK—literally, 1919: a dish consisting of meat served with two varieties of vegetable, seen as typical of traditional or unimaginative British cooking—figuratively, 1951: something simple and unsophisticated, or something indicative of simple and unsophisticated tastes

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‘martini lunch’: meaning and origin

USA, 1950—a midday meal, with several martinis taken as aperitifs, enjoyed by businessmen, and/or politicians, and/or federal-government employees—especially in ‘two-martini lunch’ and ‘three-martini lunch’

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‘beauty sleep’: meanings and origin

UK, 1828—sleep, especially taken before midnight, assumed to be necessary to keep one looking healthy and attractive; any extra sleep—sleep taken before midnight is popularly thought to be most restful

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