to miss the bus

  The phrase to miss the bus, or the boat, etc., means to be too slow to take advantage of an opportunity. In A Concise Dictionary of Phrase and Fable (1993), B. A. Phythian explained: This expression is said to originate in an Oxford story of the 1840s about John Henry Newman, fellow of Oriel […]

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corduroy

  photograph: javi.velazquez       MEANING   a heavy cotton pile fabric with lengthways ribs   ORIGIN: UNKNOWN   The original form of this noun, in the late 18th century, was corderoy. The earliest use of the word that I could find is in The Manchester Mercury (Lancashire) of Tuesday 7th April 1772:       […]

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Hobson’s choice

Thomas Hobson (1629), by an unknown artist – image: National Portrait Gallery     MEANING   the option of taking the one thing offered or nothing    ORIGIN   The earliest use of the phrase (in its present form, if the original spelling was preserved) that I could find dates back to 1649. That year, […]

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