‘scarlet letter’: meanings and origin

a representation of the letter A in scarlet cloth which Hester Prynne is condemned to wear in The Scarlet Letter (1850), by Nathaniel Hawthorne—soon came to be used figuratively in the sense of a stigma, a mark of infamy

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‘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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