origin of ‘rival’: one using the same stream as another

From ‘rīvus’, ‘a stream’, the Latin adjective ‘rīvālis’ (of, or belonging to, a stream) was used as a plural noun, ‘rīvāles’, to denote persons who have to use the same stream, and persons who have the same mistress, competitors in love.

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the Page-Three girl of the British tabloid The Sun

British English—‘Page Three’, or ‘Page 3’: a feature which appeared daily on page three of the British tabloid The Sun (London), and included a pin-up picture of a topless or nude young woman; this feature first appeared on 17 November 1970.

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‘pupil’: one’s own reflection in somebody’s eye

A diminutive of ‘pūpa’ (‘a girl’, in transferred use also ‘a doll’), the Latin feminine noun ‘pūpilla’ came to also denote ‘the pupil of the eye’ on account of one’s own reflection seen when looking into somebody’s eye—the same metaphor underlies ‘to look babies in somebody’s eyes’.

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origin of ‘red tape’ (obstructive official rules)

The noun red tape, meaning excessive bureaucracy or adherence to official rules and formalities, refers to the use of woven red tape to tie up bundles of legal documents and official papers; the literal meaning is first recorded in 1658, the figurative meaning in 1736.

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‘To go to pot’ was originally a ‘culinary’ phrase.

The phrase ‘to go to pot’ means ‘to be ruined or destroyed’, ‘to go to pieces’, ‘to deteriorate through neglect’. The allusion is to the cutting up of meat into pieces ready for the cooking-pot, as several 16th-century texts make clear.

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the various uses of ‘out of one’s skull’

USA—‘not part of a particular exclusive group’, 1955—‘out of one’s mind’, 1958—‘smashed out of one’s skull’ (= ‘drunk’, 1963)—‘bored out of one’s skull’, 1967

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