‘to go to Peg Trantum’s’ (to go to one’s death)

First recorded in 1694, ‘Peg Tantrum’ was chiefly used in the phrase ‘to go to Peg Trantum’s’, meaning ‘to go to one’s death’. This word is perhaps from ‘Peg’, rhyming form of ‘Meg’, pet form of the female forenames ‘Margery’ and ‘Margaret’, and from ‘tantrum’.

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meaning and origin of ‘Hogs Norton’

Light Programme 12.0, Family Favourites; 1.30, Mr. Gillie Potter, Sage of Hogsnorton from B.B.C. Sunday – The Derry Journal (Ireland) – 28th March 1952     The name Hogs Norton, also Hog’s Norton and Hogsnorton, denotes a fictional town renowned for its uncultured and boorish inhabitants. It has often been used in depreciative phrases suggesting that […]

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meaning and origin of the phrase ‘as cold as charity’

    The phrase (as) cold as charity refers to the perfunctory, unfeeling manner in which acts of charity are often done, and public charities administered. It originally alluded to the gospel of Matthew, 24:12, which is as follows in the Early Version (around 1382) of the Wycliffe Bible (wexe is the verb wax and […]

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origin of ‘like a cat on hot bricks/on a hot tin roof’

poster for Cat on a Hot Tin Roof (1958), an American film directed by Richard Brooks, based on the play by Tennessee Williams     The phrase like a cat on hot bricks and its American-English equivalent like a cat on a hot tin roof mean very agitated or anxious. An earlier form of the […]

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origin of ‘one swallow does not make a summer’

  photograph: Wikimedia Commons/Thermos     MEANING   a single fortunate event doesn’t mean that what follows will also be good   ORIGIN   The annual migration of swallows to Europe from southern climes at the end of winter was the subject of a proverb in Ancient Greece: μία χελιδὼν ἔαρ οὐ ποιεῖ, in which […]

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