‘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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‘grease monkey’: meaning and origin

USA, 1918—a mechanic—since the 17th century, ‘monkey’ has been used (frequently with modifying word indicating the occupation concerned) to denote a person engaged in a trade or profession

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‘spud-bashing’: meanings and origin

UK, WWII, army slang—‘spud-bashing’ (noun): potato-peeling; ‘spud-bash’ (verb): to peel potatoes; ‘spud-basher’ (noun): one who peels potatoes—those words have also been used with reference to potato-digging

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‘Spam medal’: meaning and origin

military slang, 1944—a medal awarded to all members of a force—especially the 1939-1945 Star, awarded to British service personnel who took part in WWII—refers to the ubiquitousness of Spam as a foodstuff

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‘Johnny Arab’: meaning and origin

UK, 1920—an Arab man—‘Johnny’, a pet form of ‘John’, is used, with modifying word, to designate a person, especially a man, of the type, group, profession, etc., specified

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‘short-arm inspection’: meaning and origin

USA, 1917—originally and chiefly military slang—an inspection of the penis for venereal disease or other infection—the image is of the penis as an additional, but shorter, limb

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