‘omnishambles’: meaning and origin

a situation that has been completely mismanaged—from ‘omni-’ and ‘shambles’—coined by Tony Roche in the British television series The Thick of It (3rd series, episode 1, 24 October 2009)

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‘Dutching’: meaning and origin

UK, 1989—the practice of sending food destined for the British market for irradiation in a country, typically the Netherlands, where this process is permitted, in order to mask any bacterial contamination before it is put on sale—from ‘Dutch’ and the suffix ‘-ing’, forming nouns denoting an action

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‘on the pig’s back’: meaning and origin

Irish English, 1829—‘in a fortunate or prosperous state’—a loan translation from Irish ‘ar mhuin na muice’, meaning, literally, ‘on the pig’s back’, and, figuratively, ‘in a fortunate or prosperous state’

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‘to sleep in Mother Greenfield’s (lodgings)’

‘to sleep in Mother Greenfield’s’ (tramp slang): to sleep out in the open fields—‘to worship under Dr. Greenfield’: to go for a walk in the countryside rather than to attend a religious service

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‘segocia’: meaning and origin

a pal, a mate, a good friend—Ireland, 1939, in Finnegans Wake, by James Joyce—perhaps an anglicised form of Irish ‘Seo Dhuitse’ (‘Here you are’) or perhaps an anglicised form of French ‘Mon cher gosse’ (‘My dear child’)

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‘witches’ knickers’: meaning and origin

Ireland, 2000—discarded plastic bags or shreds of plastic bags that have become snagged in trees, hedges, etc.—the image is of a witch’s undergarment that got caught in a tree or a hedge when she was flying

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‘chocolate teapot’: meaning and origin

UK, 1967—something or someone that is utterly ineffectual—especially in phrases such as ‘as much use as a chocolate teapot’—variants: ‘chocolate kettle’, ‘chocolate fireplace’ and ‘chocolate fireguard’

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