origin of ‘point-blank’

1571—probably from obsolete French ‘de pointe en blanc’, used of firing into empty space for the purpose of seeing how far a piece of artillery would carry

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origin of ‘to leave in the lurch’

to desert someone in trouble—late 16th cent.—from French ‘lourche’, which denoted a game resembling backgammon and was used as an adjective meaning discomfited

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origin of ‘cicerone’

early 18th century—from the name of the Roman orator and author Marcus Tullius Cicero, apparently in allusion to the eloquence and learning of these guides

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origin of ‘to cut a caper’

‘caper’: probably abbreviation of ‘cabriole’, from Italian ‘capriola’, literally ‘female roe deer’, from Latin ‘capreola’, ‘wild goat’, from ‘capra’, she-goat

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origin of ‘to sweat like a pig’

The pig probably symbolises the unpleasant fact of sweating profusely in the same way as it often represents greed, dirt, etc. in many other derogatory idioms.

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slave – Slav – robot – ciao

The word ‘slave’ is from Medieval Latin ‘Sclavus’, ‘Slav’, because the Slavic peoples were frequently reduced to a servile condition by the Germanic conquest.

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