meaning and origin of ‘not to have the foggiest’

to have no idea at all—UK, 1913, shortening of ‘not to have the foggiest idea’ and variants (mid-19th century)—adjective ‘foggy’ means hazy, vague

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‘damaged goods’ and venereal disease

1911—‘Damaged Goods’, translation of ‘Les Avariés’, by French dramatist Eugène Brieux, about the dangers of ignorance concerning sexually transmitted diseases

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linguistic notes on the ‘one’ in ‘alone’ and ‘only’

Why is the element one in words such as alone and only not pronounced like the numeral one? Both the indefinite article an (a before consonant) and the numeral one are from Old English ān—which has survived in Scotland as ane, used both as indefinite article and as numeral. This Old-English word ān meant a/an, one, […]

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