‘if my aunt had balls’ | ‘si ma tante en avait’

used to rebuke an unrealistic conditional—USA, 1808: ‘if my aunt had been my uncle, what would have been her gender?’—France, 1843: ‘si ma tante était un homme, ça serait mon oncle’ (‘if my aunt were a man, that would be my uncle’)

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‘Joe Soap’: meanings and history

UK—originated in British-Army slang, first to designate an unintelligent person (1943), then any ordinary soldier of the lowest ranks (1945)—finally also, in civilian usage: any ordinary person (1947)

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‘we aim to please (you aim too, please)’

‘we aim to please’ (1817): originally chiefly used as a commercial slogan meaning ‘our customers’ satisfaction is our goal’—extended form ‘we aim to please; you aim too, please’ (1941): used in a variety of contexts

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