‘Johnny Arab’: meaning and origin

UK, 1920—an Arab man—‘Johnny’, a pet form of ‘John’, is used, with modifying word, to designate a person, especially a man, of the type, group, profession, etc., specified

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‘Red Sea pedestrian’: meaning and origin

UK, 1912—humorous: a Jewish person—refers to the Crossing of the Red Sea, as recounted in the Book of Exodus—coined on various occasions by different persons, independently from each other

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‘bark mitzvah’: meaning and origin

USA, 1966—a (13th-birthday) party held for a dog—a blend of ‘bark’ (the sharp explosive cry of a dog), and of ‘bar mitzvah’ (the coming-of-age ceremony for a 13-year-old Jewish boy), or ‘bat mitzvah’ (the equivalent ceremony for a Jewish girl)

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‘pennies from heaven’ and its predecessor

Bing Crosby popularised ‘pennies from heaven’ in the 1936 film and song of the same name, but the phrase already existed; and Abraham Burstein, rabbi and author, had used ‘pennies falling from heaven’ in The Ghetto Messenger in 1928.

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