‘hikikomori’: meanings and origin

Japan 1990s—the extreme avoidance of social contact, especially by adolescent males; a person, typically an adolescent male, who avoids social contact—Japanese ‘hikikomori’ is the nominalised stem of the verb ‘hikikomoru’, meaning ‘to withdraw into seclusion’

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‘trigger-happy’: meaning and origin

USA, 1942—over-ready to shoot at anything at any time or on slight provocation—during and following WWII, ‘happy’ was used as the second element in compound adjectives relating to mental instability associated with the first element

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‘Paris syndrome’: meaning and origin

1992—the culture shock experienced by an individual (typically a Japanese) who, when visiting, or living in, Paris, realises that this city does not fulfil their idealised expectations—apparently a loan translation from Japanese ‘Pari shōkōgun’, coined by Japanese psychiatrist Hiroaki Ōta

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‘the eighth wonder of the world’: meaning and origin

1613—used hyperbolically of any impressive object, etc.—also applied ironically to a self-satisfied or arrogant person—refers to the seven wonders of the world, i.e., the seven most spectacular man-made structures of the ancient world

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‘a Jap on Anzac Day’: meanings and origin

Australia, 1973—used of anything that is absolutely unacceptable, and of any disagreeable situation or experience—‘Jap’: derogatory shortening of ‘Japanese’—Anzac Day: commemoration of the landing of the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps in the Gallipoli Peninsula in 1915

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‘Siberian Express’: meaning and origin

American English—a surge of extremely cold air which causes rapid falls in temperature and severe wintry weather in central and eastern areas of the United States and Canada—after ‘Trans-Siberian Express’, the name of a railway running from Moscow to Vladivostok on the Sea of Japan

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How ‘tycoon’ acquired its current sense in 1860.

From Japanese ‘taikun’, ‘tycoon’ was originally the title by which the shogun of Japan was described to foreigners. The current sense originated in the Japanese Embassy to the United States in 1860, not from the use of ‘tycoon’ as a nickname of Abraham Lincoln.

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