‘Piccadilly window’: meaning and origin

UK, 1897—‘Piccadilly window’: a monocle—hence ‘Piccadilly-windowed’: monocled—alludes to ‘Piccadilly’, the name of a street and of a circus (i.e., a rounded open space) in London

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‘Alexandra limp’: meaning and origin

UK, 1869—a limping gait affected by some members of fashionable society in imitation of Alexandra of Denmark, who developed a limp after contracting rheumatic fever in 1867—‘Alexandra’ was used to form compounds designating things popularised by, or associated with, Alexandra of Denmark, consort of Edward VII

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‘fatberg ’ | ‘concreteberg’

UK—2008 ‘fatberg’, after ‘iceberg’: a large mass of fat and waste material in a sewerage system—originally a large lump of congealed cooking fat washed up on a beach—2019 ‘concreteberg’, after ‘fatberg’: a large mass of concrete in a sewerage system, consisting of cement that has been poured down a drain

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‘wetback’ and its sardonic variant ‘dryback’

USA, 1920: ‘wetback’: an illegal immigrant who crossed the Rio Grande from Mexico to the USA—by extension: any illegal immigrant who entered a foreign country by swimming—Mexico and USA, 1994: ‘espaldas secas’, i.e., ‘dry backs’: the U.S. citizens working in Mexico as a result of the North American Free Trade Agreement

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‘kangaroo care’: meaning and origin

USA, 1990—a method of caring for a premature newborn in which a parent holds the infant on their chest in skin-to-skin contact—from the fact that kangaroos give birth to still-developing foetuses, then nurse them in their pouches

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‘to have two left feet’ and synonymous phrases

‘to have two left feet’: to be clumsy or awkward—postdates synonymous ‘to have two left hands’ (1815), loan translation of French ‘avoir deux mains gauches’—‘left’ has long been associated with inferior performance, awkwardness and insincerity

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‘to go to Specsavers’: meaning and origin

UK and Ireland—used of someone who makes a mistake because of poor eyesight—refers to the British optical retail chain Specsavers Optical Group Ltd, in particular to its advertising slogan, ‘should’ve gone to Specsavers’

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‘funny bone’: meaning and origin

UK, 1826—a place behind the bony point of the elbow at which a knock results in a sensation of tingling pain—in early use was perhaps partly punning on the homophones ‘humerus’ and ‘humorous’

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