meaning and origin of ‘red in tooth and claw’

UK, 1857—characterised by savage violence or merciless competition—from Alfred Tennyson’s poem ‘In Memoriam’ (1850), in which ‘red in tooth and claw’ refers to Nature’s brutality

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How poverty and war produced ‘latchkey child’.

originally: a child wearing the house key tied around their neck and staying in the streets while their mother is at work—USA, 1935: a poor Afro-American woman’s child—USA & UK, WWII: a child whose mother was engaged in war industry

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‘gung ho’ and American admiration for communist China

from Chinese ‘gōnghé’, short for ‘Zhōngguó Gōngyè Hézuò Shè’ (Chinese Industrial Cooperative Society)—interpreted as a slogan meaning ‘work together’ (USA, 1941)—adopted by Evans F. Carlson, commander of the 2nd Marine Raider Battalion (1942)

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the British-English adjective ‘demob happy’

UK, 1945—‘demob happy’: feeling elated in anticipation of demobilisation from the armed forces—hence: in anticipation of the end of a job, assignment, etc.—in extended use: in anticipation of the end of any onerous or unpleasant period

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meaning and origin of ‘like a blue-arsed fly’

British English, armed forces, 1936—With reference to the bluebottle fly, the colloquial phrase ‘like a blue-arsed fly’ is used to describe someone engaged in constant, frantic activity or movement.

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origin of ‘the end of civilization as we know it’

first recorded in the United Kingdom in 1914, with reference to the civilizational implication of the German invasion of Belgium at the beginning of World War One; therefore, not first used by Orson Welles in Citizen Kane (1941)

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