‘Scousette’: meaning and origin

1945—a woman from Liverpool, a city and seaport in north-western England—from the noun ‘Scouser’, denoting a person from Liverpool, and the suffix ‘-ette’, used to form nouns denoting female gender

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‘fang-farrier’: meaning and origin

a dentist—World War Two—slang of the British armed forces—was soon adopted into (and came to be regarded as) Australian English—earlier synonyms: ‘fang-faker’ and ‘fang-wrencher’

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‘until Nelson gets his eye back’: meaning and origin

UK and Ireland—with reference to the fact that Horatio Nelson was blinded in one eye—(1922) ‘until/when Nelson gets his eye back’ is used of a very long time in the future—(1933) the metaphor of Nelson getting his eye back is used of a very small chance of success

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‘a fart in a spacesuit’: meaning and origin

UK, 1980—denotes someone or something that is unwelcome, unpopular, etc.—first recorded in a remark by the Scottish comedian Billy Connolly, but perhaps originated in Royal-Navy slang

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‘another brick in the wall’: meanings and origin

a small component of a much larger structure, system or process; an insignificant individual within a large population or community—commonly associated with ‘Another Brick in the Wall’, the title of a three-part composition by the British band Pink Floyd in their 1979 rock opera ‘The Wall’, but has been used since 1867

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‘brolly hop’: meaning and origin

UK, 1933—a jump made with a parachute—hence also the verbal noun ‘brolly-hopping’ and the verb ‘brolly-hop’—‘brolly’ (university slang, late 19th century): a clipped and altered form of ‘umbrella’

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‘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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