‘mare nostrum’: meanings and origin

classical Latin ‘mare nostrum’, literally ‘our sea’: one of the names given by the Romans to the Mediterranean Sea—USA, 1824: any sea or other stretch of water belonging to, or under the control of, a nation

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‘gavroche’: meaning and origin

USA, 1863—a street urchin, especially in Paris, France—from ‘Gavroche’, the name of a street urchin in Les Misérables (1862), a novel by Victor Hugo

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‘parlour’ (attributive modifier): ‘parlour patriot’

‘parlour patriot’ (1797)—the earliest of the phrases in which ‘parlour’ is a depreciative attributive modifier used of a person claiming to be committed to a cause but not actually involved in the achievement of that cause—‘parlour’ is also used of the claimed commitment to a cause without actual involvement in the achievement of that cause

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‘armchair’ (attributive modifier)

The noun ‘armchair’ is used as an attributive modifier meaning: 1) based or taking place in the home as opposed to the world or environment outside; hence, chiefly depreciatively: 2) lacking or not involving practical or direct experience of a particular subject or activity.

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‘no names, no pack drill’: meaning and origin

UK, 1890—used to indicate that the person or persons guilty of a misdemeanour will not be named, in order to spare them recrimination—‘pack drill’: a military punishment involving a lengthy period of marching up and down carrying full equipment

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‘the order of the boot’: meaning and origin

dismissal from employment—UK, 1882, as ‘the noble order of the boot’—‘the boot’ refers to kicking somebody out—the phrase puns on two acceptations of ‘order’: an authoritative command and an institution founded for the purpose of honouring meritorious conduct

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‘a Jap on Anzac Day’: meanings and origin

Australia, 1973—used of anything that is absolutely unacceptable, and of any disagreeable situation or experience—‘Jap’: derogatory shortening of ‘Japanese’—Anzac Day: commemoration of the landing of the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps in the Gallipoli Peninsula in 1915

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