‘my giddy aunt!’: meaning and origin

UK, 1890—the dated jocular exclamations ‘my giddy aunt!’, ‘my sainted aunt!’, etc., express surprise, consternation, etc.—they are extended forms of the exclamation ‘my aunt!’

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‘Fiji uncle’: meaning and early occurrences

Australia, 1888—defined by Wilkes in A Dictionary of Australian Colloquialisms (1990) as “An imaginary rich uncle overseas, backing some venture in which the unwary may be persuaded to invest.”

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‘Queen Anne’s fan’: meaning and early occurrences

UK, 1883—a gesture of derision made by putting one’s thumb to one’s nose and outspreading the fingers like a fan; can be intensified by joining the tip of the little finger to the thumb of the other hand, whose fingers are also outspread fanwise—the motivation for the choice of ‘Queen Anne’ is unknown

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‘Chinese burn’: meaning and origin

UK, 1956, children’s slang—an act of placing both hands on a person’s wrist or arm and then twisting it to produce a burning sensation—alludes to the fiendish methods of torture attributed to the Chinese

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‘lager lout’: meaning and origin

UK, 1987—a young man who behaves in an unpleasant or aggressive manner as a result of drinking (typically lager) excessively—lager, a pale beer, is favoured by the young as opposed to the dark, traditional bitter English beer

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‘jump up whitefellow’: meaning and origin

Australia, 1830—refers to the Aboriginal belief that light-skinned persons are reincarnations of dead Aborigines—extended forms: ‘jump up white fellow, plenty of sixpence’ and ‘go down blackfellow and jump up whitefellow’

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