a Pepysian phrase: ‘and so to bed’

phrase popularised by its frequent use in the diary (1659-69) of Samuel Pepys (1633-1703)—not peculiar to him, however, as it was used for example by Philip Massinger in 1624

Read More

history of the phrase ‘tin Jesus’

USA, 1874, as ‘a little tin Jesus on wheels’—in reference to tin as a base metal, ‘tin’ is used figuratively in the senses ‘petty’, ‘worthless’, ‘counterfeit’

Read More

a word invented by Jonathan Swift: ‘yahoo’

‘yahoo’: rude, noisy or violent person—word invented by Jonathan Swift (1667-1745) as the name of a race of brutish creatures resembling men in Gulliver’s Travels (1726)—came to be applied to the orang-utan

Read More