meaning and early occurrences of ‘kiss my arse’

very rude way of expressing profound contempt—first recorded in The Killing of Abel, one of the 15th-century mystery plays known as the Wakefield, or Towneley, plays

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a phrase based on prejudice: ‘Dutch courage’

UK, 1797—strength or confidence gained from drinking alcohol—alludes to the drinking habits ascribed to the Dutch—one of the phrases in which ‘Dutch’ is used derogatorily, largely because of the enmity between the English and the Dutch in the 17th and 18th centuries

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origin of ‘paraphernalia’

from Medieval Latin ‘paraphernalia’, short for ‘paraphernalia bona’, ‘married woman’s property’, i.e. the goods which a bride brings over and above her dowry

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origin of the word ‘paraphernalia’

from Medieval Latin ‘paraphernalia’, short for ‘paraphernalia bona’, ‘married woman’s property’, i.e. the goods which a bride brings over and above her dowry

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to wet one’s whistle

In ‘to wet one’s whistle’ (to take a drink), attested in the late 14th century, in Chaucer, ‘whistle’ is jocular for the mouth or the throat.

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tace is Latin for candle

  The Excommunication of Robert the Pious (1875), by the French artist Jean-Paul Laurens (1838-1921) – Musée d’Orsay, Paris The officiants have just excommunicated Robert by bell, book, and candle, and left the quenched candle behind. Robert II (972-1031), known as the Pious, the son of Hugues Capet, was excommunicated for incest by Pope Gregory […]

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the mysterious origin of ‘tace is Latin for candle’

  The Excommunication of Robert the Pious (1875), by the French artist Jean-Paul Laurens (1838-1921)—image: Wikimedia Commons The officiants have just excommunicated Robert by bell, book, and candle [note 1], and left the quenched candle behind. Robert II (972-1031), known as the Pious, the son of Hugues Capet, was excommunicated for incest by Pope Gregory V […]

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