26th Feb 2023. Reading time 38 minutes.
to abandon or betray someone in order to protect or advance one’s own interests—originally (British politics, 1971) ‘to push someone under a bus’—derived from ‘to walk under a bus’ (British politics, 1966)
11th Sep 2022. Reading time 15 minutes.
the exploitation and intimidation of tenants by unscrupulous landlords—UK, 1963—refers to Peter Rachman, a London landlord whose unscrupulous practices became notorious in the early 1960s
2nd Dec 2018. Reading time 15 minutes.
UK and Canada, from 1903 onwards—punningly alludes to ‘Rule Britannia’ (1740), the title of a popular patriotic song
19th Sep 2018. Reading time 7 minutes.
British origin—popularised by Harold Wilson in 1956, but first recorded in The Observer (London) of 30 October 1955
10th Sep 2017. Reading time 6 minutes.
to exact the maximum payment which a person can afford—coined in 1918 by Eric Geddes with reference to the reparations exacted from Germany following WWI
7th Jun 2017. Reading time 5 minutes.
In ‘hung parliament’, ‘hung’ means ‘in which no political party has an overall majority’ – cf. the US expression ‘hung jury’, where ‘hung’ means ‘unable to decide’.