‘toffee-nosed’: meaning and origin

UK, 1914—snobbish or supercilious—refers perhaps to ‘toff’, denoting a fashionable upper-class person—the image is perhaps of someone who, considering themself superior, keeps their nose high in contempt for the lower classes—cf. the form ‘toffy-nosed’ (1919)

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‘wood-and-water joey’: meaning and origin

Australia, 1847—an odd-job man—‘wood-and-water’ alludes to the phrase ‘hewer of wood and drawer of water’, designating a labourer of the lowest kind—‘joey’ is perhaps the noun denoting a young kangaroo, and by extension anything young or small

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‘porky’ (rhyming slang for ‘lie’)

In British English, the noun ‘porky’ (also ‘porkie’) is short for ‘porky pie’ (also ‘porkie pie’), which is an alteration of ‘pork pie’, rhyming slang for the noun ‘lie’.

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‘Mr. Plod’: meaning and origin

UK, 1963—‘Mr. Plod’, also ‘P.C. Plod’, ‘Plod’: a humorous or mildly derogatory appellation for a policeman or for the police—alludes to ‘Mr. Plod’, the name of the policeman in stories by the English author of children’s fiction Enid Blyton

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‘mother’s ruin’: meaning and origin

UK, 1904—denotes gin (i.e., a clear alcoholic spirit distilled from grain or malt and flavoured with juniper berries)—‘mother’s ruin’ alludes to the evils caused by the consumption of gin

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‘bovver boy’ & ‘skinhead’: meaning and origin

UK, 1969—a young man of a working-class subculture, characterised by close-cropped hair, heavy boots and functional clothing, and behaving in an aggressive or violent way—‘bovver’ represents a nonstandard pronunciation of ‘bother’

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