meaning and origin of ‘to a T’

‘with minute exactness’—UK, 1693—probably a shortening of synonymous ‘to a tittle’ (1607), ‘tittle’ meaning ‘a small mark used in writing or printing’

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to wet one’s whistle

In ‘to wet one’s whistle’ (to take a drink), attested in the late 14th century, in Chaucer, ‘whistle’ is jocular for the mouth or the throat.

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over the moon

The phrase ‘over the moon’ means ‘very happy’, ‘delighted’. It seems to have originated in Ireland in the early 18th century.

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to have a bee in one’s bonnet

This phrase is a transformation of ‘one’s head full of bees’, meaning scatter-brained, unable to think straight, as if bees are buzzing around in one’s head.

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to pay through the nose

  photograph: la vida cotidiana       MEANING   to pay excessively, to be charged exorbitantly   PROBABLE ORIGIN   The expression to pay through the nose is first recorded in Piazza universale di proverbi Italiani, or, A common place of Italian proverbs and proverbial phrases digested in alphabetical order (1666), by Giovanni Torriano (floruit 1640): Oft-times Rich […]

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