‘Joe Soap’: meanings and history

UK—originated in British-Army slang, first to designate an unintelligent person (1943), then any ordinary soldier of the lowest ranks (1945)—finally also, in civilian usage: any ordinary person (1947)

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‘Coggeshall job’: meaning and origin

any muddle-headed business—UK, 1813—the stupidity of the people of Coggeshall, a small town in Essex, England, has been proverbial since the mid-17th century

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‘behind the eight ball’: meaning and origin

in trouble; at a disadvantage—USA, 1923—refers to a position in a game of pool in which a player cannot make a direct shot at the target ball because the black eight ball obstructs the cue ball

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